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Tips to Save Money Before the Holiday Season

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As the holiday season approaches, families gear up for another round of gatherings, gifts, and generosity. While holiday festivities are fun, they can also be financially draining. Whether it’s a full holiday meal for twelve or gifts for your loved ones, the holidays can strain budgets and put people into debt come January.

With inflation pushing prices higher, the strain is going to be even more acute this year. Fortunately, finding holiday savings isn’t impossible or even that hard. Follow these tips for saving money during the holidays to get through the season with your credit union account intact.

Put Together a Holiday Budget

The starting point for any holiday savings should be putting together a budget. Think about your specific situation: Who do you buy gifts for? Do you intend to host a gathering? How far will you travel to see family? Examine your finances and consider what amount of money you can afford to spend on these activities.

One tip for staying on budget is to avoid high interest credit cards. Don’t spend money you don’t have even if you think you’ll pay it off in January. Better yet just use actual cash. When you can see the money leaving your hands, you’ll spend more consciously and avoid impulse purchases.

Save Money on Gifts

Several tips for saving money during the holidays involve being strategic about gift buying. First, plan ahead and ask others in your life to do the same. If your children, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews make Christmas lists each year then ask them to get them to you early.

When you begin shopping early you can buy items here and there as they come on sale. If you wait until the middle of December and you’ll be forced to pay whatever the price is for any number of gifts. Pay attention to sales, comparison shop, and consider more affordable options, such as refurbished electronics or DIY gifts.

Find Holiday Savings on Travel

While shopping early for gifts, shop early for travel arrangements as well. Holiday savings can be as simple as booking a cheaper flight well in advance or snagging a deal on a hotel near your destination. Also, consider the smaller expenses included in travel that can easily add up, such as:
  • On-the-go meals
  • Fuel
  • Water, snacks, incidentals
  • Travel gifts for loved ones
By planning these extras, you'll be in a better position to keep your budget intact.

Consider Ways to Save on Entertaining Costs

If you’re hosting a large gathering, consider ways to realize holiday savings. Instead of a large feast bought and cooked by you, consider asking each of your guests to bring one dish. Most guests will enjoy participating, and there will be lots of new dishes to sample. Another change to the family gathering might include a Secret Santa gift exchange, or an agreement to only buy gifts for the children in your family. Focus on making memories as a family and not competing for the best gifts.

Of course, tips for saving money during the holidays don't have to be only about holiday spending. A great way to find holiday savings is to cut back on normal expenses for a month or two. Try to skip eating out at lunch or avoid that morning latte. Small changes for a few weeks can add up.

Open a separate savings account dedicated to holiday spending. If your payroll is deposited directly, consider scheduling a second deposit of 20 or 30 dollars per pay period for your holiday fund. By the time the holidays arrive next year, you’ll have set aside a few hundred dollars. That might not seem like much, but it will go a long way toward avoiding high interest credit card bills.

The holidays are a time of joy and building memories with family and friends; unfortunately, they can also be expensive. If you follow these tips for saving money during the holidays you should be able to keep your finances in good order for 2023.

If you need help establishing a budget or setting up a holiday savings account, we are always here to help you reach your financial goals. Visit us online or at any of our South Florida locations to take advantage of our wide variety of member support services.