While the holiday season can be a magical time of year, it usually comes with a plethora of additional expenses during the last two months of the year. Whether it’s gifts, food, decorations, the perfect outfit for that holiday party, or airfare to visit family – there’s no denying the holidays can put a dent in the wallet. Even if you’re staying put this year, due to COVID-19, there are usually extra costs you don’t incur the rest of the year.
According to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, consumers say they will spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, up 4 percent from the $1,007.24 they said they would spend last year. Shoppers between the ages of 35 and 44 plan to spend the most at $1,158.63 this year.
With so many additional expenses in a month, it’s surprising how few people set money aside throughout the year for year-end holiday expenses. If you don’t have Savings Account or a Holiday Club Account to use during the holiday season, cutting costs and being a smart shopper may be necessary to stay financially sound during November and December.
If you find yourself not prepared for holiday season shopping or stressed out, that’s ok; there are still ways you can be smart and cut back on spending.
Take Advantage of Perks
Many credit cards offer reward points for using their card. These points can be used like cash to purchase merchandise such as gift cards or electronics. Try cashing in your reward points from your Most Rewards Credit Card to use towards a gift or use a checking account that offers rewards when you swipe your debit card.
Skip a Loan Payment
Qualified members may be eligible to take advantage of Skip-A-Pay, which gives you the chance to skip your December or January loan payment. Pressing the pause button may give you the extra cash you need for the holiday season.
Check online sites such as slickdeals.net, Woot!, and Brad’s Deals to search for bargains. If you haven’t signed up for Amazon Prime yet, it may be worth it just for the free shipping, especially if you do a lot of online shopping for the holidays.
If you prefer in-store shopping, take advantage of the bargain sections and Black Friday deals.
Spread your spending out by purchasing a few gifts each week before the holiday rush. This is an excellent way to avoid putting a large chunk of debt on a credit card at one time. Shopping early also relieves the feeling of rushed, last-minute shopping, resulting in purchasing gifts regardless of price.
Plan Ahead for Next Year
To get financially ready for next year’s holiday season, take our Dare 2 Compare challenge. A teammate will review your accounts to see how much money you could potentially save.
Although not applicable for this year, consider enrolling in a credit union Holiday Club Account to start saving for next year’s holiday expenses. It’s a savings account that you stash money in all year and have limited access to until the holiday season rolls around.
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