Believe it or not, the holidays are right around the corner! It won't be long before we're celebrating the season with friends and family. In the midst of all the fun and festivities, it's all too easy to get carried away and accidentally overspend. But if you go into the season with a plan and a budget, you can enjoy the most wonderful time of year without the regret of overspending.
Follow these tips to keep your spending on track during the holidays:
Start a holiday budget:
It's always a good idea to make a budget before the holidays, as it will help you determine how much you can afford to spend on all those holiday extras. Be sure to factor in expenses for gifts, food, decorations, travel and entertainment. It's a good idea to take a look back at your account and credit card statements from the previous year to get an accurate idea of how much you tend to spend during the holidays.
Make a list and check it twice:
Once you've made a holiday budget and you know how much you want to spend, it's time to make a holiday shopping list. Put together a list of all the people you want to shop for, including friends, family and co-workers. Then, assign a price limit for each gift. Creating and following an organized list will help you stay on budget and avoid impulse buys.
Plan travel well in advance:
Traveling during the holiday season can be pricey, but it can be even more expensive if you wait until the last minute to book your trip. If you want to save money, experts recommend booking flights 3 to 6 weeks in advance. Likewise, the more flexibility you have with your travel dates, the more you might be able to save on tickets. For example, flying on the morning of Thanksgiving is often cheaper than flying the day before the holiday.
Cut back on extra expenses:
All the shopping trips you make during the holiday season can tempt you to make extra purchases you normally wouldn't make, such as treating yourself to a specialty coffee or a new item of clothing. While it's perfectly fine to reward yourself every once in a while, resist the urge to overspend on items that aren't on your holiday shopping list. If you see something you want for yourself while out shopping, try to postpone the purchase until after the holidays are over to ensure you stay within your budget.
Earn cash back on holiday shopping:
WPCU's Purchase Rewards program is an easy way to put money back in your pocket while holiday shopping. To activate offers from select stores, simply go to Purchase Rewards* on WPCU's Online Banking or Mobile App and click on offers from places you may already shop. Then, shop online or in stores and redeem the offers by paying with your WPCU debit card**. You'll receive cash back deposited in your WPCU checking account at the end of the month—now that's smart spending!
At Wright-Patt Credit Union, we want to help you plan ahead so you can keep more money in your pocket throughout the busy holiday season! Looking for an easy way to make a budget and track your spending this holiday season? Try Money Management, a free service available through Wright-Patt Credit Union's (WPCU) Online Banking or Mobile App. Money Management lets you see all of your financial accounts, including those with other institutions, all in one place so you can easily track your spending, create budgets, set goals and much more. It's a great tool to help you plan ahead for the holidays.
Visit our online Education Center for more helpful savings tips and free financial education resources to use when planning for the holidays.