The holidays are a wonderful time to relax, unwind, and enjoy the company of loved ones. It’s easy to get carried away with spending, but financial responsibilities will continue after the holidays are over. That’s why it’s important to keep savings goals at the forefront during this time of year.
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5 Holiday Mistakes That Could Cost You
By America Saves
Credit reports and credit scores
By Connecticut Saves
The holidays are just around the corner, which means it’s time to enjoy vacations, catch up with family and old friends, and eat great food. While the holidays are about quality time and making memories, it’s easy to get caught up with spending money. Here are five holiday mistakes to avoid this year so you can enjoy the season with your finances intact:
It’s incredibly kind to get each of your relatives, colleagues, and in-laws thoughtful presents and cards to show them your appreciation, but your wallet might be crying for help after your first few purchases. One of the biggest financial mistakes you can make during the holidays is shopping without a spending plan.
When you’re shopping for loved ones, you’re imagining how happy they’ll be when they receive your gift. But remember, financial responsibilities don’t go on vacation during the holidays. Create a budget for your holiday spending. Once you know how much you can afford to spend, create a list that fits your budget.
This way, you’ll be able to purchase the items you plan for and know for sure that you didn’t bust your budget. Here’s a free holiday budget printable to get you started.
If you’re the person that always offers food, transportation, and lodging to everyone, you might want to try a new approach this year. It’s thoughtful to go the extra mile during the holidays, but don’t stretch yourself or your pockets too thin.
Consider splitting the responsibilities with your friends and family. You might not think you’re overspending by being so accommodating, but the more people there are in your home, the more likely you are to receive a high utility bill at the end of the month. You’ll also be surprised at how many trips you might have to make to the grocery store to restock on food, drinks, and toiletries.
You can suggest hosting a potluck style gathering this year. With a potluck, each guest is responsible for bringing at least one dish, beverage, or party supply. At a minimum, you’ll save money on food and drinks. If you need napkins or disposable utensils and plates, you can make one guest responsible for those items as well.
If you have a ton of relatives who need to be picked up from the airport or train station, see if you can rope in other family members to help with pick-ups and drop-offs. This will help you save on gas, time, and energy.
Splitting responsibilities will help you enjoy the holidays without being completely stressed out.
So you’ve created your list and a tight budget, that’s great! Don’t wait until the last minute to actually make your purchases. By then, sales may be over and supplies will be limited.
Start your shopping early so you can snag deals while they’re still available. When you have ample time to cross items off your list, you’ll have time to compare prices and bargain hunt. Some stores offer price matching, so keep that in mind as you start shopping and placing your online orders.
Time is of the essence. Shopping early will give you time to figure out what you actually need and get those items at the best price. When you wait until the last minute, you’re much more likely to bust your budget because you’ll just be rushing to cross people off your list instead of specific items that fall within your budget. Here are some tips to help you save while you shop.
Do your best NOT to rely on your credit cards during the holidays. If you can’t afford to buy it now, don’t create a bill for yourself later. Once the holidays are over, you’ll be faced with a potential mountain of debt that you’ve built.
The holidays are a great time to enjoy the company of your loved ones, but you shouldn’t feel like the only way to show your love is through expensive presents and festive decor. Enjoy the holidays in a way that doesn’t destroy your finances. This year, make it a goal to spend quality time.
If an unplanned expense does occur during the holidays and you have to use your credit, here are some tips for using your credit card.
Don’t make the holidays a competition about who can wear the most expensive clothes, buy the flashiest gifts, or serve the swankiest dinner. Make the holidays about creating lasting memories and enjoying time with your loved ones, or simply yourself.
Darlene Aderoju works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support Americans to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org.
As the holiday season approaches, do you find yourself looking forward to the festivities, but concerned about the impact on your wallet? You are not alone. By doing some planning now, you can simplify your gift giving. Here are ten ways you can enjoy this special time of year and keep spending in check:
Most importantly: enjoy your holidays!
Faye Griffiths-Smith works for UConn Extension, a nonprofit coordinator of Connecticut Saves.
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Keep your savings goals in mind while you shop for holiday gifts. #SavingsTipTuesday @AmericaSaves
You can save money and be thoughtful by giving your loved ones handmade presents. #SavingsTipTuesday @AmericaSaves
Holidays should be about spending quality time instead of spending lots of money and building debt for the future #WednesdayWisdom @AmericaSaves
It’s kind to offer food, presents, and accommodations to loved ones during the holidays, but don’t spread yourself or your pockets too thin. #WednesdayWisdom @AmericaSaves
Each time you swipe your credit card for the holidays, you’re creating a bill for yourself later. Follow a budget so you won’t overspend. #SavingsFactFriday @AmericaSaves
Making a list and checking it twice before shopping for the holidays is a great way to track your spending. #SavingsFactFriday @AmericaSaves
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