Most Americans spend 30-40% more than they intended to spend during the Holidays, and spend the first six months of the New Year paying off debt. Here’s some great tips to consider from our Financial Fitness team to have a stress-free holiday season…
1. Plan ahead.
Set up a holiday savings and spending plan and stick to it! Get the Holiday Savings & Spending plan
Experts recommend trying to spending less than 1.5% of your income on the holidays*. So for example, if you make $40,000 a year, it is suggested to save about $600 for the holidays. Whether you spend more of less than this amount, deciding early how much you want to spend is always a good idea to avoid overspending and stress.
*Source: Practical Money Skills
2. Budget your time (and money).
Compare prices and give yourself enough time to shop around for the best deals. Sometimes it’s the last-minute gifts that can send us over our spending limits. Shopping early will usually help you get the best deals and give you enough time to find coupons or sales for the item. Here’s some helpful website and apps that can help you save more money:
- Coupon Mom: CouponMom (not just for moms!) is a website that provides weekly shopping advice to you and more than 3 million members and shows you how to combine coupons, loyalty programs and weekly sales in your area to maximize your savings.
- Retailmenot.com: Get online coupon codes that can help you get free shipping or big discounts on your next online purchase.
- GasBuddy.com: When you’re shopping around or traveling, it’s important to find the best places to fill up in your area. Also check out their fuel-saving tips, maps, and pricing info! Available as a mobile phone app.
- The Coupons App (iPhone, Android)
- CouponSherpa (iPhone, Android)
- GeoQpons (iPhone, Android, Blackberry)
3. Get creative.
Consider a gift exchange with family and friends or a potluck to share on costs. You can even try making your own gifts this year. Pinterest is full of great homemade, DIY gift tutorials. Check out our Pinterest page for a few ideas!
4. Pay in full or pay it off.
The holidays are a time of giving and it can be very easy to overspend. Use your Savings & Spending plan to decide what you can afford to spend and try to pay it in full or in “cash” whenever possible. If using your credit card during the holidays, try to pay the credit bill in full or you may be dealing with debt in the new year.
5. Stick to the plan.
Think about your financial goals – are you hoping to one day buy your first home or are you trying to save for college? Don’t let unexpected costs creep up and hinder your savings goals. Remember that it’s really the time you share with family and friends during the holidays that means the most – not the gifts or parties.
Interested in learning more savings and financial tips? Consider taking CHW’s Financial Fitness class. Or if you’re ready to take the next step toward your financial goals, learn more about our coaching program.