This past weekend I went to pick up Halloween costumes for the kids and to my surprise the winter holiday decorations were already out. That put me into panic mode, thinking about holiday shopping, traveling, gift exchanges, carry in’s, and all the decorating to come in less than 13 weeks! Are you prepared?

The average holiday shopper will spend $820.00 on gifts this holiday season.

Here are some tips to help you get through the holidays.

  • Determine how much you can afford? – Look over your finances and determine how much you can afford to spend. Try to stay away from credit cards and emergency funds. If you haven’t already, this is a great time to look into opening a Holiday Savings Account to save for the next year. I did this last year and it eases the financial stress of the expenses that come with the holidays.
  • Make your list – Your list should consist of everyone that you will be buying for this holiday season. Don’t forget gift exchanges, co-workers, mail carrier, holiday parties and charities.
  • Divide your budget – You are off to a good start. You have determined the amount you can spend and who you are buying for, now it’s time to determine how much you are spending on each person. Remember stay within your budget. This may take a couple of tweaks.
  • Gift Ideas – Time for the hardest part, coming up with what you would like to get everyone and stay within your allotted amount. If you know ahead of time what you are purchasing you can look for sales and avoid over-buying. This will help you stay within or under your budget.
  • Track you’re spending – As you are checking items off your list note what you paid for each item. Make sure you are adjusting your budget for overspending or underspending – a good budget is always changing.
  • Prepared for next year – Once the holiday shopping is done don’t throw away your holiday list. This is a great start for next year’s holiday budget.

What to do to plan now for next year?

  • Take a look at your list and determine how much you would like to spend for next year
  • Open a Holiday Savings Account
  • Divide budgeted amount by 10 months
  • Set up payroll deduction for that amount to start going into the Holiday Savings Account
  • By the end of October your holiday gift list is funded
  • Enjoy the holidays without the financial stress

If you need some help setting up a Holiday Savings Account, come see us at Day Air Credit Union. We are to help.

April Higgins | Director Member Service

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