Buying gifts for your loved ones is one way to show them you care, but don’t let overspending drag you down this holiday season. Without a holiday spending plan, expenses can add up quickly. COVID-19 has contributed to additional financial strain for many families this year, so it may be time to reevaluate your gift-giving strategy. Creating a holiday budget and being creative when it comes to gift-giving can help you stay within your means, avoid taking on holiday credit card debt, while still showing your loved ones that you care.
Make a Shopping List and Check it Twice
While gifts are a major component of holiday spending, they’re not the only expense to think about when it comes to creating your holiday budget. You’ll also want to factor in decorations, food, travel, and any gathering-related expenses. This is on top of regular monthly expenses — like rent, utilities, and food — which should take priority in your budget. Use caution not to overspend and fall behind on your fixed expenses. Make a list of people you want to buy for and allocate a dollar amount for each person on your list, keeping your overall budget in mind.
Is the Price Right?
Store discounts change rapidly, so read the fine print when you see a sale sign. Review wording carefully to ensure that the deal is still being offered and take a picture of any signs for sales that you plan to take advantage of. At the register, watch to make sure the scanned price is right and that you are offered the discount. Overcharges cost you money and time, especially if you don’t notice them until after you check out. Alerting the cashier to a wrong price upfront, and having proof of the sale price with you, will save you a lot of hassle in line.
Leave Items in Your Shopping Cart
This is one of the best tricks when you are doing your shopping online. Go through your shopping list and select the “nice to haves” and other things that can wait. Once you’ve found an item online, open an account on the merchant’s website and add the product to your shopping cart. Now it’s time to play the waiting game. Online stores usually have systems for encouraging you to finish your purchase. You might be sent email reminders, and ads for the product will probably start appearing on other websites you visit (this is called retargeting). Many retailers will eventually offer you a discount code for the item in your cart so they can close the sale. Bingo!
Save Your Time
Online shopping is one the best and easiest way you can save your time. First of all, say no to queues with online shopping. You can browse, select and order a wide range of products online with a few simple clicks. There is no time restriction; you can shop anytime and from anywhere. You can order just about any product while relaxing on a cozy sofa at your home. Online shopping also allows you to spend more time surfing and analyzing the best products and the best price and helps to reduce impulse buys in store.
Few things to be mindful of to avoid fraud and protect your hard-earned money when shopping online.
- Closely review your credit card and bank statements for unauthorized or unusual activity.
- Check your accounts frequently, and immediately flag any unusual activity.
- Consider setting up email or text alerts and balance notifications.
- Never send personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers, or passwords via email or text.
Point Breeze Credit Union provides fraud monitoring for our members and may contact you if we see unusual activity on your accounts. Be sure to keep your contact info up to date so a member service representative can reach you if suspicious activity is suspected. For more tips, visit PBCU.com.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Point Breeze Credit Union!