Use these tips this holiday season to shop for your loved ones.
‘Tis nearly the season to get in the spirit of spending more money than you normally do (or perhaps your season has already begun). Be sure your name ends up on the right list this year with these helpful tips.
Naughty: No holiday budget
During the holiday season, there's a lot to spend money on. From plane tickets to holiday parties to gifts, the lists of things to purchase can seem endless.
According to a study by YouGov, only 43% of Americans have a holiday budget. That means many Americans are going into the season of heavy spending completely unprepared. That's because most people have no budget or pre-set spending plan. And without this plan, expenses could quickly get out of control.
Nice: Setting and sticking to a budget
Before you hit the mall or start browsing the internet for sales, create a list of your holiday expenses. Include all gifts, holiday décor, travel expenses, charitable donations, and food costs. Don’t forget to add in the cost of wrapping paper, gas to get to Grandma’s house, and a fruitcake for your boss.
Once you have all your expenses figured out, work on finding a magic number that will cover everything on your list and that you can realistically afford.
Now, login to your LMCU online banking account or the LMCU Mobile App and use the LMCU Budget Tool to track your holiday spending and set up alerts to monitor your expenses.
Naughty: More retail store credit cards
Though it may be tempting, consider the actual cost of opening another retail store credit card. Is the credit card offer that great? Will you be able to pay it off before the promotional period ends? What are the fees, taxes, penalties, and other charges?
Nice: Take advantage of Max Rewards
If you have an LMCU Max Rewards Visa Credit Card, now’s a good time to cash in those points. You can cash in some of your rewards points to help absorb some of the cost of gift-giving. You can also redeem points for gift cards, which can make last-minute gift-giving a little easier.
Even better, if you don’t have one already, get the LMCU Max Rewards Visa Credit Card, and earn 3% cash back on gas (up to $500) as you travel for the holidays, 2% back on groceries for all those extra meals you’ll be making, and 1% back on everything else you purchase this holiday season.
It happens to all of us. You start your holiday shopping and before you know it, you’ve spent far more than you originally expected. It’s easy to go overboard during the holidays. Giving extravagant gifts may seem like a great idea … until you’re faced with the grand total of all those costs in January. If you have a habit of buying things you don’t really need, try to avoid split-second purchases and last-minute gift buying.
Nice: Trade pricey for priceless
Think of non-monetary gift alternatives. Give the gift of time; volunteer at a local soup kitchen, run errands for a friend, do housework for a loved one, or drive someone to an appointment. Give gifts made from the heart; have a special photo enlarged and framed or write a letter sharing a special memory you have.
Bonus Tip: Show some extra love to your community and shop local this holiday season!
So what list will you be on this holiday shopping season? Try implementing some of these tips into your holiday shopping and swap out feeling stressed by finances with a sense of joy and peace.
Topics: Wallet Wisdom