When the holidays are over, you may feel haunted by the ghost of overspending — and wondering how you are going to pay off the holiday debt you accumulated. Make debt the ghost of holidays past. Here’s how a little planning now can help you avoid a lot of holiday debt later.
Start with a budget
Spend too much last year? Be a better money manager this year. Create a holiday budget to keep within your limits. Consider not just the cost of gifts, but the other important parts of the holiday like meals, parties and travel. And don’t forget the wrapping paper and shipping costs for out-of-town gifts.
Purchase gift cards
Gift cards are an affordable, go-to option that say, “I was thinking of you.” They’re also a great way for you to stay within your budget. Take a look at your list (check it twice if you’d like) to determine who a gift card will work for. Then determine what amount will work for your budget.
Order online or head to the store to buy your cards in amounts that won’t put you in the red. Don’t forget to budget for potential activation fees, too. So, give a gift card and make your holiday shopping easier, and your life a little merrier.
Look for deals and steals
Shop smart — and early. It’s often those last-minute impulse purchases that wind up blowing your budget. Download familiar, trusted apps and online coupons to help stretch your holiday funds. (Check with your service provider as data charges may apply.) Just be careful not to fall into retail sales where you buy more to save more. Focus on your list so as not to overspend.
Plan holiday spending for next year now!
Finally, go ahead and begin planning for next year by opening a holiday savings account at your credit union or bank. This is a dedicated account where you set money aside year-round for holiday spending.
Your funds typically earn interest or dividends like any other savings account. You’ll have a little extra for holiday spending or a solid savings start for the next year. The money becomes available around the end of October, just in time for the season.
Hopefully, by following these tips, the only ghosts of debt past you’ll see from now on are on Halloween!
Article provided by Local Government Federal Credit Union. The advice provided is for information purposes only.