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Holidays in the New Normal

The holidays are bound to look and feel a little different this year, but we can still celebrate! Here are a few things to keep in mind while planning for the unique 2020 holiday season:

Set a spending limit

Before you start shopping, you'll need to understand how much you're able to spend on the holidays while keeping up with your everyday expenses. Try taking a look back at your past holiday spending and adjusting for your plans this year to get a rough idea for what to expect. Planning ahead and setting limits will help you avoid getting caught up in the holiday spirit and accidentally overspending.  

If you've experienced COVID-related income changes, following a holiday budget will be even more essential this year. You might need to trim expenses by shrinking your gift-giving list or making handmade presents. No matter what, focus on what's joyful and meaningful to you — it's what the season of giving is all about!

Once you determine how much you feel comfortable spending, you can start setting aside funds in a savings account. A Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) TrueSaver® savings account or Money Market Account can help you save better without hassles or hidden fees.

Buy must-have items early

With more people staying at home, many retailers are shifting their holiday promotions online. Some stores will even offer Black Friday deals throughout November and December, so you can get a head-start on your shopping while avoiding crowded stores and long lines.

The rise in online shopping might also cause shipping delays and inventory issues. If you have your eyes on an item that might sell out, consider buying it earlier than usual to avoid missing out!

Stay safe when shopping online

If you prefer to shop online, follow these best practices to stay safe and reduce the risk of fraud during the holidays:

  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to check your account or make online transactions. Unlike private networks or cellular data, public Wi-Fi is not secure and leaves your information vulnerable to hackers.
  • Only use secure websites. Make sure the URL begins with “https" and look for a lock icon in the address bar.
  • Be suspicious of social media ads that seem too good to be true. Clicking the link could take you to a fake or unreliable website.
  • Track your account activity. Check your accounts at least two to three times a week to ensure all transactions were made by you. WPCU's Mobile and Online Banking makes it easy! 

For many different reasons, the 2020 holiday season will be like no other. By planning ahead, staying flexible and focusing on what's meaningful to you and your family, you can make the holidays just as special as ever.

Looking for more budgeting tips and tools to help you save, spend, borrow and plan for the holiday season? WPCU has you covered! Check out our online Education Center and browse our budgeting worksheets, helpful videos, short interactive learning modules and more!