The holidays are quickly approaching but before you go into panic mode, our friends at City of Boston Credit Union offer some helpful advice so you don’t break the bank this season!
Written by Coleman Nee
Make a budget!
Before you do anything, make sure to set up a budget for how much money you are willing to spend. The Holiday Spirit is definitely easy to get caught up in, but your post-holiday woes will be far worse if you “accidentally” spent way more money than you wished! Know who you want to get a gift for, and a base dollar amount for each of these people. Bring this budget with you and track your receipts, it won’t do you any good if you never even look at it! Bonus tip: Don’t forget the expenses of food, entertainment, new outfits that come with the party – they can be easy to forget when you are running all over town looking for gifts!
A common tip when shopping is to only bring cash, it feels a lot more “real” to hand over your hard earned money than to swipe a card and pretend the money didn’t actually come out of your account! Compare prices online beforehand, you can save a lot of time and money by finding the best prices quickly and avoiding driving store to store – many stores will even have In-Store Pickup options to save a few bucks on shipping too! Don’t forget to search around, you never know which stores could have free shipping codes or weekends (for instance Black Friday deals). The same thinking applies to gifts you have to ship yourself, check to see which distributor is offering the lowest prices on gifts for your out-of-town friends and family.
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One of the best ways to save money during the holidays is to Do It Yourself! If you are the artsy sort of person, decorating your home with crafts could save you a pretty penny – and also give your party its own personal flare. The same goes for wrapping paper or even the gift itself. A personalized photo album, handmade knick-knacks, or building a chair – as just a few examples – can go a long way and shows the receiver that the gift really came from the heart!
- Extra tips and tricks!
Consider a Holiday Club, many financial institutions offer Holiday Clubs as a sort of Specialty Loan and can be hugely beneficial if your family needs a little extra help for the holiday season.
- Coordinate group travel when possible, one car with four people is a lot more efficient than four cars all going to the same place. Split the bill and cram in!
- Buy one big family gift – splurge on a vacation but let the whole family decide what’s on the agenda, or a new TV and each family member can pick a movie to watch!
- Ask around for gift ideas, it may take a little out of the surprise but you won’t waste money on a gift that will get no use.
- Set price limits for gift swaps amongst family, friends, and coworkers
- Re-gift! If you have gifts lying around that still haven’t been opened from last year, send it to the other side of the family if you think there will be more interest from them!
We here at City of Boston Credit Union hope everyone has a very safe and happy holiday season this year, and that you are able to stick pretty close to that budget!