Volume 3 Issue 12
“No-Worry Shopping During the Season-of-Giving”
By Lourdes Cortez
If the phrase “Christmas is right around the corner!” strikes fear, not cheer, in your heart, then you probably haven’t given your holiday budget much thought. However, there are many ways to ensure that you can afford “the most wonderful time of the year.”
There’s no doubt the holidays can be expensive, having many family members and friends to entertain and buy gifts for. Below are some suggestions on how you can make the most of your holiday budget:
Decide on a budget: Take an honest look at what you can responsibly afford to spend during the holiday season. Sales and coupons will help you stretch your dollar but only if you are realistic about how much you are willing to spend. Try to make room in your existing budget to reallocate towards your holiday spending.
Make a List(s): Preparing a list before you go shopping can help you stay on track. Write down everyone you wish to give a gift to, such as family, friends, work colleagues, etc., and how much you want to spend on each person. This will help you to stay financially on track.
Traveling to visit family? Make sure to outline all travel related expenses, such as transportation and gas, it will be easier to cut back or accommodate additional spending.
Shopping Smart: There are many ways to save on holiday gifts. Take the time to bargain hunt and utilize some of these tricks:
- Book holiday travel during non-peak days. You’ll save a bundle if you fly on Christmas Day
- Check out group-buying sites like Groupon or Guilt to snag products and services at a discount
- Ask party guests to bring their favorite dish or a bottle of their favorite wine to your gathering
- Giving a handcrafted gift will save you money and it adds a personal touch to any holiday present
- Use cash-back reward sites to earn back a percentage of your holiday purchases
- Utilize mobile apps such as Flipp and Krazy Coupon Lady, which can aid you in finding coupon deals at all of your favorite retailers and allow you to make shopping lists to keep you on budget
- Consider buying gifts for next year. After the holidays are over, there are many deals that will save you money on next year’s holiday shopping
Christmas Loans: If you find you have absolutely no room in your budget for holiday expenses, you may want to consider applying for a Christmas Loan. Many banks and credit unions offer Holiday Loans that feature a variety of options to satisfy many borrower’s needs. These low-cost loans are designed to meet your needs, with competitive rates and flexible re-payment terms. These loans are specifically designed for the Holiday season, and like cash advance loans, they provide a small amount of money for a specific period of time.
The good news is, during the holiday season, these loans feature significantly lower interest rates which can be as low as half the rate charged by credit cards or other fast unsecured personal loans. Approvals are fast and you also benefit from low-cost financing. As with all loans, you must take into account your ability to repay the loan and borrow only what you’ll need to cover your holiday expenses. If you have no credit or a less than perfect credit history, joining a credit union will be an excellent opportunity to start building credit for future higher loan requests.
Open A Holiday Club Account: After the holiday season is over, open a Holiday Club account which allows you to save money for the next holiday season while earning interest on your savings. That way, you’ll have a jump-start on next year’s holiday shopping without the stress.