The holidays provide a welcomed break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In October, the family has a chance to dress up and go trick-or-treating. In November, Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to reunite with loved ones. And December concludes the season with gifts, decorations, and a celebration of the year. While these festivities are long-standing traditions that bring joy to all, there’s no denying that they can become quite expensive. This year, don’t allow the season to negatively impact your finances. Here are three tips to help you spend responsibly while holiday shopping.
We are all familiar with the rewards that many credit companies offer. As enticing as they may be, using your credit cards to collect those benefits may not be the best plan. Credit cards make it easy to overspend by allowing consumers to take advantage of credit lines. Lines of credit tempt customers to spend more money than they currently have, leading to debt.
However, when you use cash from your bank account, you automatically set a physical boundary for your holiday shopping. Using cash ensures that you won’t spend more than you have available. Also, the act of counting out tangible money and handing it over to the cashier will help you realize how much you’re really spending. Make sure to take care of all your essentials first, then only withdraw cash from your discretionary income.
Many people feel pressured to spend inordinate amounts of money during the holidays because they haven’t set clear expectations. When parents receive long wish lists from their children, they naturally want to deliver. But when you couple extravagant gifts with seasonal decorations, holiday entertainment, and large family dinners, it’s easy to see how end-of-year spending can quickly get out of hand. To mitigate this, set a budget and use it as a guideline to manage expectations. Be transparent and firm about how much you plan to spend in each category. You can even offer money-saving alternatives to curb disappointments.
The last way to spend responsibly is to shop around. During the holidays, competing businesses are known to offer amazing sales. With a little patience, you may be able to save some money by comparing prices. Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts, compare brick-and-mortar prices to online platforms (you can even use helpful apps like Honey), and stay on the hunt for coupons. Every dollar saved can make a difference.
Your efforts to preserve your financial freedom and properly celebrate the holidays can coexist. Use these three tips to spend responsibly while on holiday shopping and breathe easy knowing that your finances are in order.