Goodbye pumpkins and Hocus Pocus, hello Christmas trees and Elf! It’s that time of year when we dump the pumpkin spice and cheerfully pick up the peppermint mocha instead (sorry Thanksgiving!). As joyful as the Holiday season is, we can all agree that it can also be very stressful. Since financial stress can be one of the main reasons for the Holiday blues, we came up with some great tips to help you stay on budget this year. The good news is you don’t need to be a Grinch to stay on budget, it just takes some smart planning! Take a break from sneaking into your kid’s leftover Halloween candy stash and read some budget-friendly tips to help you stay on track this Holiday season:
This is a big one. Without a plan, you end up way over budget or with a puppy under your tree. Now we love a puppy as much as anyone, but having a plan can help curb impulse purchases even if they have puppy dog eyes. Create a spreadsheet, or go old school with lined paper and write down each person you normally give gifts toand determine a set amount for each person. This will not only help you remember everyone on your list that you need to buy for (no more forgetting your cousin’s girlfriend!) but it will also help you see your total amount of spending, preventing something similar to the grocery store checkout phenomenon where you wonder how you possibly could have spent that much! Even little gifts here and there can add up fast. If you really want to stick to your budget, put the cash in designated envelopes with each person’s name on the front. When the cash is gone, you’re done!
Thrift it Up!
As moms of children of all ages, we know how much kiddos love their toys! Do you think they care whether the toys are in their original packaging? Absolutely not! Get the best bang for your buck and hit up a children’s resale store. Not only will you save yourself the headache of having to put the toys together as you MacGyver your way through the intricate world of toy packaging, but you’re going to save yourself a lot of dough.
Support small, local businesses and shop the numerous Holiday markets in the area. No need to buy Dad another tie, or Mom another basket of lotion she’ll never use. Rather, pick out a meaningful handmade gift that they can cherish. Often we are so caught up in the Holiday whirlwind that we’re like robots checking items off our lists. Take a break, grab a coffee, and go visit a Holiday market with that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with. Check out our November Guide to discover some local markets near you.
Shop Early! No need to wait until the holiday rush to get your shopping done. While we always suggest supporting our local Central Ohio shops, there can be big budgetary advantages to shopping at the national brands. One big advantage is that many “big-box” and mall stores now offer price adjustments should the item(s) you purchased go cheaper in the next several days or weeks. That means you don’t need to wait for the big sale to get your shopping done! Just make sure you keep your receipt handy and keep your eye out for the sales via mail flyers, commercials, or the store’s website. Each store is different, so make sure to ask for their adjustment policy. Also, don’t forget about price matching! That can seriously save some miles on your car and help keep your sanity intact by limiting the amount of stores you need to get to.
Every year we vow to start Holiday shopping early, and every year we end up shopping last minute and worried about money. Sound familiar? Although they may not be able to help with Holiday procrastination (sorry mama, that one’s on you), Credit Union of Ohio can help you deal with the financial stress associated with the Holiday season. The Holiday Loan Special offered by Credit Union of Ohio is a great way to help you keep on a budget and stress-free. Offered with a low fixed rate with 24-month financing, give yourself financial peace of mind and check out the Holiday Loan Special offering HERE. Our Partners at Credit Union of Ohio look forward to working with you to make this the best Holiday season ever!