Christmas is a time for merrymaking and making memories with our loved ones. It is the time of the year when people take a time off their busy schedules to take a break, travel abroad, be with rarely seen relatives and friends and indulge in parties and festivities.
It is no coincidence that retailers are releasing their best promos and offers around this time of the year. People are happy and people have money, this is always a recipe for multiple purchases. It is the time of the year to show gratitude to people who have been a part of our success this past year. Giving gifts have been a norm during this season and to some, the pricier the gift, the more we appreciate the person we are giving it to.
The willingness to spend this time of the year can be attributed to job and wage gains, modest inflation, healthy balance sheet and elevated consumer confidence, per The Wall Street Journal.
However, while spending is not wrong, simply emptying your bank accounts like there’s no tomorrow is a no-no. According to Azbigmedia, last year, Americans spent incurred an average holiday debt of $1,003 which was an increase from 2015’s $986. To avoid being one of them, here are five tips to let you enjoy the Christmas season without breaking the bank.
1. Plan ahead
Make your list way ahead of time so that you can still check it twice or thrice. Be realistic in your budget and enumerate the persons who will receive the gifts. In this way, you can avoid impulse buying. Make sure to give allowance for surprise additions to the list later on. Since you already got it planned out, even if there is last-minute gift buying, you know what and where to get the better deals.
2. Take note of other expenses
The Mennonite reports that gifts are not the only ones you are going to spend this holiday season. There are also those subtle, little expenses that can do damage to your wallet once they all add up. This includes gift wrappers, shipping fees, decorations, potlucks and charitable giving. Travel expense must also be considered.
3. Hunt for the best deals
You can look for coupons or apps that offer the best deals. Loyalty rewards can also be used to buy gifts. “Look for cards where you might have small point balances. Maybe you have one that doesn’t have a lot of points—certainly not enough for a hotel reward or something else big. You could cash them in for gift cards,” claims credit expert Gerri Detweiler. Garage sales can also be an option.
4. Monitor your spending
It is so easy to get lost in all the expenses and receipts this season. There are apps that can help you track your expenses so you don’t have to worry about going over the budget. Apps such as Mint, Every Dollar, and Quickbooks make it more convenient but you can also write everything down in a notebook if you want to.
5. Apply for a new credit card
If you are looking for a new credit card, this is the best time to do it. Among the things credit card companies can offer are a low-interest rate, zero percent financing or balance transfer or sign up bonus which requires a one-time minimum spend of at least $1,000 to activate.
Featured image via DepositPhotos.
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