Six Warning Signs That You May Be Spending Too Much Money This Holiday Season

The following post comes from the Military Saves Blog.  Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

The holidays are fast approaching, and you may already be spending money and buying gifts to prepare. Before you spend too much money, take a moment to watch for these six warning signs that you may be spending too much money this holiday season.

#1: You Don’t Have a Budget
How much have you saved for your holiday spending?  How much can you afford to spend without going into debt?  To start the holiday shopping season right, begin with these numbers. If you haven't saved, you may still be able to find the funds this year, but it is also a great time to begin planning for next year by saving automatically into a holiday fund. Be realistic about how much you will spend and who and what you will be spending on when creating your budget. If it isn't something you can stick to, then it is time to adjust your numbers, your priorities, or both.

#2: You Don’t Have a List 
A list is different from a budget.  Once you know how much you have to spend, make a list of who you will be buying for, and decide how much you would like to spend on each person. Determine this before you go shopping and stick to it! Spending just a few dollars more per person could put you in the position of running out of money, or winding up in debt.

#3: You’re Putting Items on Credit 
There are appropriate occasions to use credit cards, but it can be difficult to use them responsibly. The holiday season occurs every year—don't make going into debt an annual tradition! Buying with credit allows you to spend money you don't have, exceed your holiday budget, and adds interest charges to those good deals you think you are getting when purchasing gifts, making them cost more! To avoid overspending, stick to your budget, save your credit cards, and use the money you have saved for your holiday purchases. Leave the credit cards at home!

#4: You Can’t Resist a Holiday Sale
Don't get me wrong, there are some good deals out there during the holidays! However, holiday sales can sometimes offer deals that are difficult to resist on things you didn't plan to buy (BOGO deals, special discounts if you spend a certain amount, etc.), and you may find yourself spending much more than you planned. If you can't resist the lure of Black Friday or other sales, be a smart Saver and plan your shopping trip ahead of time. Decide the date, time, and destination of your shopping trip, stick to your list and your budget, and limit your purchases to those you already planned to make.     

#5: You’re Impulse Buying
Buying items not on your list is a surefire way to blow your holiday budget. By creating and following a holiday budget and shopping list, shopping with a clear goal in mind, and avoiding unplanned shopping detours and window shopping, you can keep your saving and spending on track. Shop deliberately, not impulsively!  

#6: You Find Yourself Shopping Online Often
The internet can be a useful way to do your holiday shopping, but it is also chock full of some of the dangers listed above, as well as many others! Buying online usually requires a credit card, and website retailers know just how to market those holiday sales to encourage you to fill your cart with unplanned purchases. And remember, if you are paying shipping fees on top of item prices, those deals may not be such a good deal after all! If you do plan to do your holiday shopping online, do just that: plan your purchases, stay within your budget, and follow your list!

Shop like a Saver! Here's a to-do list for holiday shopping:

  1. Save for the holidays
  2. Create your budget
  3. Make your shopping list
  4. Plan your shopping trip
  5. Use money you saved for your purchases, rather than credit
  6. Save your receipts
  7. Once your shopping is done, reevaluate your holiday savings and spending strategy to determine if they worked for you. If not, you can always try again for next year! 

Take the Pledge

Savers who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. 

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Katie Bryan | November 18, 2013

    Save for #presents rather than relying on #credit http://ow.ly/pV4nN

Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Saving With My Boys

Written by | September 2, 2019

When Kelly was a kid, she loved the picture book A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams. In the story, a little girl lives in an apartment with her mother and grandmother. The little girl’s mother is a waitress and sole provider for their family. Together the family saves money by putting their change in a giant jar every day. They are saving for a big cushy chair for the little girl’s hard-working mother. Together with patience and diligence, they buy the mother a very comfy chair.

Read more...

Taking Back Control Over Finances

Written by Virginia Saves | August 5, 2015

After becoming a Virginia Saver and getting help from BankOn classes and coaching, Nadine Bialo took back control over her financial affairs.

Read more...

Inspired to Build Savings By Starting Small

Written by Great Lakes Michigan Saves | April 19, 2016

With little-to-no money in the bank and living on a limited income with her adult daughter, Sharon wasn’t sure if building up savings for her future was even possible. “At my age, to put debts behind me would be a relief,” she said, but she wasn’t quite sure how to even get started with a savings plan. That all changed when Sharon attended the Great Lakes Michigan Saves Pay Yourself First Saver’s Summit during America Saves Week.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Start Saving

Receive Texts

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

Learn More

Partner News & Updates

Written by Katie Bryan | October 18, 2013

Sign Up