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12 Tips to Help Avoid Overspending this Holiday Season

October 24, 2023

While the holiday season is a time of celebration with family and friends, it can also bring financial stress and strain on many people’s budgets. With all the excitement of the holidays, it is easy to go overboard on spending. Gifts, decorations, travel, and food can all stretch your budget during the holidays. But with some planning and prioritizing, your celebrations do not have to leave you dealing with unwanted debt in the new year.

Here are 12 practical tips to help you keep the merry in your holidays and avoid overspending.

Make a Plan – Start with a budget and figure out the total amount of what you can afford to spend (not the cost of all the things you would like to buy). Consider travel, entertainment, and food costs as well as gift giving.

Prioritize What’s Important — Determine your must dos versus all the things you want to do to celebrate the season. When you align your spending with your values it can reveal places to cut back and save — and bring satisfaction when you know you are spending on the things that matter most to you.

Take Inventory of What You Have — Before you spend anything on the holidays, take stock of what you already have on hand. It’s easy to forget what you have packed away in the basement since it has been a year since you used them. If you are hosting the family get-together this year and need a few extra items, consider borrowing from friends and family rather than purchasing.

Focus on Relationships — List everyone you plan to give a gift to – from your children to your best friend to your partner. Then put a dollar amount next to each name. Setting a spending limit will help keep your holiday budget on track.

Take the Time to Look for the Best Deal – Keep your eyes open for sales and special promotions on the gifts you want for your friends or family. Before you shop online, perform a quick web search for coupon codes from your favorite online retailers. Check out the ads and specials with local stores. Many retailers have price-match policies if you find a better deal elsewhere.

Get Personal – Take the time to think about what those on your list could really use or would appreciate. A small, thoughtful gift is worth more than an expensive gift that someone may never use. If your sister-in-law loves to bake but can’t get the hang of homemade pie crusts, you could buy her a simple pastry-making tool for less than $10 and include a copy of a foolproof recipe.

Get Creative — Homemade presents are great ways to save money while creating something memorable. This a great way to save a few dollars and let your loved ones know how special they are. These gifts might not work for everyone on your list, but they’re good options for some. Consider a photo book for grandparents or cookies for a neighbor or your child’s teachers.

Give the Gift of Your Time – Spending time with loved ones is often more precious than any material gift. A special visit with a favorite aunt during the holidays or a brisk walk with a dear friend can create memories. Or you can “gift” your time with a card and special “coupon” for a free night of babysitting for your sister or a home cooked meal for your uncle that can be used at any time.

Consider a Group Volunteer Outing — Your friends probably struggle with overspending as much as you do around the holidays. Give them the relief of forgoing buying gifts for you by organizing a group volunteer day instead. You’ll come out of the day feeling proud of your efforts rather than suffering from buyer’s remorse, and anyone can benefit from volunteering. You can even include the kids.

Don’t Wait to the Last Minute to Shop — One of the surest ways to overspend is to wait until the last minute and buy all your gifts and decorations in a hurry. Not only are you more likely to overspend, but it also makes an already stressful time of the year even more so.

Monitor Your Spending — Keep track of how much you are spending by reviewing your account statements regularly. Use your mobile or online banking network to easily monitor accounts and be sure to pay your bills on time. If you use a credit card to make purchases, use one that offers rewards or cash back to get the most from your spending.

Create Your Savings Plan for Next Year — Wherever you are in the holiday season, it’s not too early to start planning for next year. One way to do that is to set up a holiday savings club account now. You can set aside a small amount of each paycheck throughout the coming year and in this account and when the season arrives, holiday shopping will be less of a financial challenge.

If you would like to learn more about budgeting and savings options available at Town & Country that can help you reach your financial goals, you can connect with a member services representative by emailing us, calling 800-649-3495 or book a consultation here.

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