Avoid breaking the bank this holiday season!
The holiday shopping season is in full swing. The malls are packed with eager shoppers. Offers and promotions are coming from clothing stores, electronics retailers and other shopping sites. They’re probably flooding your inbox, and your physical mailbox is getting overloaded with catalogs from shops you haven’t bought anything from in years, if ever.
If you’re wondering how you’re going to pay for this frenzy of shopping while keeping your checking account in the black, you’re not alone. Here are some tips to help avoid a holiday spend headache:
Make a budget.
Don’t just set a total dollar limit – be detailed. Break down how much you plan to spend in a detailed list. Include how much you want to spend per person, the food you need to purchase, hostess gifts for holiday parties, wrapping supplies, and whatever else you know you need to buy. NECU makes budgeting easy with myMoney, a personal financial management tool, that allows you to create budgets, track spending, and set goals. The more specific you are the easier it will be to shop with goals in mind!
Give yourself time to shop for deals.
Although you might come across something in a store that you HAVE to have, be patient. See if you can find a better deal online or in another store. If you’re not feeling rushed, you might end up spending less because you’re allowing yourself time to price shop. It’s the last minute rush gifts that often end up costing more, resulting in a ‘now or never’ mentality. Better yet, if you have a checking account with NECU, you're eligible for discounts on thousands of local participants with Benefits Plus*.
Be creative with your giving.
Instead of buying all of the latest toys and gadgets, brainstorm ways to gift in a creative, thoughtful, and less expensive way! For example, you could create ‘fun day’ gift packages with ways for the family to spend time together or let your kids pick out their own dinner menu one night and make it together. There are lots of crafty ideas that you can find that cost less than a toy – and create more memorable experiences.
Cut back on decorations.
Although new festive décor can certainly be enticing, ask yourself if it’s REALLY worth it. Or, if you’re eager for something new, create a fun decoration exchange night with friends and neighbors, where you can all bring something to swap – recycling at its best!
Rethink gift wrapping.
Have you ever realized how much you spend on wrapping supplies, just to see it get torn apart and thrown away? Here’s an idea – use newspaper! With some inexpensive twine or ribbon, it can really look cute and trendy! Even brown paper bags can look festive with some decorations and stamps!
*There is a fee associated with adding the Benefits Plus® savings program to your checking account. Please refer to our schedule of fees. Members must have an NECU checking account to take advantage of this service. Some discount restrictions may apply.