The holidays mean a lot of things to different people — however, a common denominator is often the stress that comes hand-in-hand with celebrations and gift-giving. Approaching the holidays doesn’t have to be as daunting as it can often feel, especially if you know what to do and what not to do with your money. As any financial expert will tell you, the key is to break your bad spending habits and stay within a responsible budget you set for yourself.
No matter how you celebrate, avoiding any financial hurdles is an important part of this time of year. There are three sound saving habits, that when adopted will ensure you’re able to maximize your holiday cheer.
Save Early & Often
Preparation is key when it comes to holiday shopping. Ideally, if you can begin saving money immediately after the new year begins, you’ll be in the best possible position when it comes time to make your holiday shopping lists. If you already have a monthly budget in place, try re-examining it to see where you can trim your expenses. If you can forgo that coffee on your way to work every day, that money could be set aside for the holidays. You’d be surprised how much those small savings add up in the long run. When it comes to decorations and holiday-themed gifts, the best time to find major savings is just before the new year — last season’s items will likely go on sale for major discounts to make way for the new inventory. If there are items you know you’re going to need come the holidays, that will be your optimal window for savings.
In general, budget apps are a great way to organize your monthly finances. With the inventory of apps rising yearly, there are now niche-based mobile apps tailored to fit various consumer lifestyles. Around the holidays, it’s important to find savings wherever possible — one of the tried-and-true ways of executing this has been through the use of coupons.
Shoppers have been using coupons to save on everyday items for years and with the new coupon-based mobile apps available, they’re blending the traditional with the innovation of modern technology. Budget apps offer a new solution to keeping your finances sustainable, especially when unexpected expenses occur.
If you were relying on short-term financial relief —likely in the form of payday loans, for their convenient borrowing options — switching your attention to updated budgeting tools will help you take control over your money. Taking these apps wherever you go will help you keep your spending in-check without sacrificing your holiday wish list.
Shop Without the Plastic
Credit cards, while convenient, can lead to overspending faster than you realize. Using plastic, especially around the holidays, is likely going to result in an interest-heavy monthly bill that becomes harder to pay off. Adopting a cash-only policy will help you avoid overspending — each gift should have its price point and when the cash is gone, you won’t be tempted to indulge in impulse purchases.
The envelope system is a popular trick shoppers use to hold themselves accountable — which becomes increasingly important as the holiday season arrives.
Additionally, if you decide to use your credit cards — perhaps to gain points or cashback — only charge what you’re confident you can pay off in 30 days or less. This will ensure you don’t succumb to sky-high interest rates, which is a slippery slope to credit card debt.
The holidays are meant to be enjoyed with friends and family, without any additional stress. The first step is ensuring your money is working for you, so you can enter the holiday season, and survive beyond it, with complete financial confidence