With Christmas only a little over a month away, 44 days to be exact, and the endless list of presents you have to get, it might seem nearly impossible to get everything on the wish list when money is tight. Sometimes the temptation of swiping your credit card becomes your next option when it doesn’t have to be. By using your credit card, yes you will be able to get the gifts everyone wants but you will be paying for it in the months to come when your credit card bill comes in. So how can you get something for everyone when your running on a budget?
Simple, once you calculate your budget hide your credit card(s) in an envelope to ensure you won’t be tempted to use them. Also many banks offer budget tools allowing you to keep track of future spending habits. Try using Suncoast Credit Unions money management tool, SunMoney, which allows you to manage your spending, savings, and budgets. You can also see purchases, payments, bills, and savings reports all in one location helping you to calculate how much you need to stay on budget. Make sure to create a list of everything you need to get this holiday season and how much you can spend without breaking the wallet.
Although you only have a little over a month to prepare for Christmas, you can still afford to give nice gifts to friends and family, all you have to do is cut back for a month. Eating what you have in the pantry for a week instead of going out can save your family a lot of money. But if you have nothing in the house to eat, try getting only the essentials and staying away from the things you want as it could help you be one step closer to your goal. The money you saved from cutting back can then be added to the savings for your Christmas fund.
For extended family members and coworkers or neighbors try baking cookies or buying chocolate candy for them. It doesn’t have to be a big gift, they will be happy that you took the time out and made them something. There’s also gift cards which are perfect gifts for allowing friends and family to treat themselves to a shopping spree, or a dinner date. A great way to save a few bucks is by getting a gift card on cardhub.com. The site offers weekly deals on gift cards for clothing, electronics, entertainment, grocery and pharmacy stores, kids and toy stores, health and beauty products, and restaurants.
The most expensive person on your list will most likely be your children. Why is that? Well, with TV commercials, ads, and media outlets broadcasting every toy, and tech toy imaginable children can easily want almost every product they feast their eyes on. As an aunt of four I have experienced the list of toys that mostly come from infomercials, many of which include non expensive items such as Pillow Pets, Snuggies, and Nerf guns. However in this day and age popular items many kids now want are either tablets or gaming consoles. But when the list becomes too hard to afford it might be easier to curb your child’s expectations as it is a great way to also reduce greediness during the holidays. Try asking your children to limit their Christmas wish-list to just one item that they really want. If you are able to afford more items on the list you can account that into your budget but by setting a limit your child won’t become as upset when you can’t afford the millions of items on the wishlist.
If your brave enough to face the crowds Black Friday is the best time to shop for deals but for those who don’t want to wait in the long lines try shopping on Cyber Monday. Before you shop make sure to compare prices so you can get the best deal. One site in particular BlackFriday.com allows customers to view ads and compare prices for items from big corporations such as Walmart, Target, Macy’s, and many more. Another thing you might want to check is if your bank offers more rewards points and cash back deals during the holidays. Suncoast Credit Union is one of many banks offering double rewards for customers who shop between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. These rewards can be then used towards getting gifts, or getting discounts off of items on your wishlist. Also check to see if you have used all the points you have earned this year from swiping your card as they could be used towards getting gifts.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the spending cycle during the holidays. With marketing campaigns geared towards making you open your wallet in the spirit of Christmas, it’s hard not to fall prey to spending more than what you have. However, if you have a budget plan, and know how to stretch every dollar during the holiday season saving will be a lot easier.