If you tend to get caught up in the spirit of holiday giving — and perhaps spend more than you should — here are some strategies you can use to avoid the emotional and financial strain of paying the bills in January.
Keep a lid on spending. Create a budget that encompasses all of your holiday expenses. Next, divide it into categories, such as travel, entertaining, gifts, shipping and postage, decorations, etc. Then think about how the budget will impact your finances. How long will it take you to get back on track if you overspend?
Make a gift list and stick to it. When it comes to gifts, make a list of everyone you’ll be giving to and set a limit on how much you can afford to spend. Having an idea of what you’re looking for will help you stay focused and resist the temptation to overspend.
Use technology to find sales and lowest prices. Shopping and sales apps such as PriceGrabber can alert you to in-store and online retailers that are offering the lowest price on a particular item.
Earn credit card perks. Take advantage of cash back or rewards when you charge purchases to your credit card. Certain items, like electronics and appliances, may qualify for free extended warranties, and many cards offer replacement coverage for damaged or stolen items.
Enjoy Free Shipping Day, Friday, Dec. 15. Many retailers offer special promotions when you shop online this day. They will ship your purchases for free with no minimum purchase. Another plus ― they’ll often deliver your gifts by Christmas Eve.
Consider homemade gifts or the gift of time. Share your special talents such as photography, knitting, woodworking or crafting with friends and loved ones. Gifts from the heart are often treasured and carry a special meaning to recipients. The gift of time is one you can give throughout the year. Is there someone who could benefit from your help with home repair, running errands or pet-sitting?
Try a gift exchange. Each person picks a name from a box to select their gift recipient. Instead of buying for everyone, you’ll only be responsible for buying a gift for that special someone.
Track spending. Use the PeoplesBank Mobile Banking App to track your spending. You can easily check balances, transfer funds and make deposits on the go.
By remembering the real meaning of the holidays and having your spending strategies in place, you can relax and look forward to being debt-free in the new year.