HOLIDAY TIPS TO KEEP YOUR BUDGET IN CHECK
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The holiday shopping season is in full swing. Studies show that most consumers start planning their holiday gift-buying in the month of September. With that said–it’s important to stay on track and not blow the bank when it comes to giving this holiday season. At Midwest Legacy Group, we have some tips to pass along that can help you save money.
10 ways to save money this holiday season:
1. Establish a Holiday Budget
If you want to keep your spending in check this holiday season, the first step is to create a budget and stick to it.
There are some super savvy consumers that start saving early for the holiday season by taking advantage of old-fashioned Christmas Club accounts at a bank or credit union, or by opening a short-term certificate of deposit.
You should plan how much you can spend on gifts, decorations, food, travel, and all other holiday-related expenses. And don’t forget little things, like holiday cards and stamps as it all adds up. Certainly, add a little extra for unplanned purchases that you simply can’t pass up!
2. Make a Shopping List and Use it
Once you’ve got your holiday budget in place, make a list of all the people you want to buy gifts for. Set an amount on how much you can spend on each one, not on what you want to buy.
If the list gets lengthy–go through it again and pare names or spending amounts. Truly, one of the easiest ways to trim your budget is by trimming the list of people you’re shopping for.
Also, you and your friends may agree to not exchange gifts, especially if you’re facing job loss or other hardship. Remember, the gift of true friendship is priceless.
3. Put Your Name on the Gift List
It is not selfish to add your name to the list–it’s also psychologically effective.
Sometimes, while shopping for others you see something you want for yourself. In these scenarios, allow a little extravagance for yourself — especially if it’s on sale. Go for it!
4. Secret Santa and E-cards
Large families coupled with buying gifts and cooking for everyone can force you to spend more than you can afford. There’s no joy in that.
An easy way to get around that is to plan a Secret Santa gift exchange. Everyone draws a name without telling who it is and buys just for that person. Normally a moderate spending limit imposed, making gift giving much more affordable.
If you all like to get together at the holidays–plan a potluck. By having everyone contribute, you will save not only time but also money.
E-cards are a great alternative to the traditional holiday card and a nice way to save money and time. Instead of buying holiday cards and paying for postage for each one, find some nice e-cards online. You can also create your own holiday cards online if you have a creative side!
5. Always Pay Cash (if you can)
Another way to avoid holiday debt–pay cash for everything. Withdraw the money from the bank, keep it in an envelope and when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Once that money has been spent, you’re done shopping!
Of course, you can’t use cash for shopping online. In that case, use a prepaid card. You can buy prepaid cards anywhere these days and they are a fantastic way to keep you on track.
Prepaid cards limit your spending to the amount that is loaded onto the card. If the card is loaded with $500, that’s all you’ve got to spend.
The only thing here to look out for reload fees and other charges.
6. Use Credit Cards Cautiously
Today’s credit cards can come in handy as financial tools. They can be dangerous at Christmastime though. Some credit card customers do end up with holiday debt that can last them a long time.
Use the card that offers the lowest interest rate and It’s also a good idea to track your credit card spending.
7. Giving Time is a Gift Too
If you want to give someone a gift but funds are tight this season, give the gift of your time. Baby-sit or walk the dog for a friend with an overloaded schedule.
An elderly relative may need you to run errands, do housework or take them to an appointment or out for a meal, super easy.
Handmade gifts are nice, too. If you’re already baking cookies or cooking, make something extra for someone on your list.
8. Purchase Thoughtful Gifts Not Expensive Ones
Some people have reached a point in life where they have everything they need. This gives you an opportunity to be creative. Come up with a thoughtful, simple gift that is also inexpensive.
A framed photo of a special memory is always nice. Other ideas include an engraved letter opener, tickets for an event or show, a decorative pillow or something beautiful from a local antique mart, think unique.
9. Free Shipping Day is Your Friend
Free Shipping Day is Dec. 14 this year. Hundreds of stores offer free shipping with no minimum order. Also, look for other special deals.
If you’re planning to buy most or all your gifts online, buying them online on Free Shipping Day can save you lots of money.
10. Many Apps Can Save You Money
Technology is on your side this holiday shopping season. Utilize one of the many budgeting and money-saving apps that are at your fingertips today.
RetailMeNot, Honey and Rakuten are great ways to get cash-back deals and discounts automatically when you shop online.
A sidenote here: be aware of items that may seem like a bargain but really aren’t. Many doorbusters or other sales are designed to get customers to spend money. You’ll want to be sure to check prices using your phone or computer to make sure you’re truly getting a bargain.
More things to consider this holiday season that equate to savings:
- Spend less on traditions.
- Get thrifty with stocking stuffers.
- Donate to charity, not family or friends.
- Have a virtual party.
- Don’t shop at the mall.
Don’t let your future feel uncertain, especially when it comes to your finances. Discover the power of strategizing that puts your financial well-being first–not our bottom line.
Call Us Today at 630.541.5958
Why Choose Midwest Legacy Group
For more than 20 years, Christopher Gandy and now Midwest Legacy Group has helped investors achieve their financial goals. We work by acting and subsequently thinking independently rather than following what we feel are outdated industry practices. It is our personalized approach and total commitment to serving our clients aligned with our experience investing that separate us from the rest. The team behind Midwest Legacy Group is made up of qualified financial professionals who are passionate about helping individuals and families achieve their ideal retirements.
Meet Christopher Gandy
Chris works with clients to create custom financial strategies designed to help make their dream lifestyle a reality. In 1999, Chris started his own financial services practice and since then has worked with business owners, physicians, professional athletes, and key executives across the country. He focuses on the areas of life insurance, disability income insurance, investments, and tax-efficient strategies.
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