Does your financial rational thinking get thrown out the window during the holidays? Or for some, maybe your budgeting skills are top-notch and frugal is practically your middle name. Yet, you’re still looking for ways to shower your loved ones with presents (without having your heart drop into your stomach every time you look at your bank account post-holiday season).
We understand, and we want to help. Read on to learn 3 steps to save money this holiday season so you can relish in the spirit of giving—minus the shopper's remorse and stress.
Put The Credit Cards Down (+ Walk Away!)
You look at your expenses over the next few months and start to realize funds are going to be a little too tight for comfort. That credit card might look more and more like a viable option...
Don’t let it trap you!
If you’re shooting to have less financial stress and save more money this holiday season, the last option you’ll want to pursue is using credit cards for your holiday shopping.
According to MagnifyMoney, Americans who borrowed for the holidays added $1,003 onto their overall debt on average during the 2016 holiday season. MagnifyMoney highlights, “A person carrying an average debt load of $1,003 who makes one $25 minimum payment per month would need 58 months (4.8 years) to pay off their debt. On top of paying off their principal balance of $1,003, over that time they would pay an additional $442 worth of interest for a grand total of $1,445.” The takeaway? Spend within your current means—the interest isn’t worth it.
Cut Back On Unnecessary Expenses
Get creative with your savings! According to 2017 GOBankingRates survey, 18% of Gen Xers between the ages of 45 and 54 have less than $1,000 saved for emergencies. Moreover, a whopping 40% admit to having no savings put away at all. However, what’s interesting is that on the other side of this savings token NerdWallet reports, the average middle-aged American has $993 extra per month leftover after paying their routine monthly living expenses.
While an extra $993 per month may not be par for the course, these statistics do reveal that many of us are overlooking valuable opportunities to save. Best next steps? Be diligent and do an overhaul on your monthly expenses. Cook at home instead of eating out. Switch to the more cost-efficient phone plan and service provider. The possibilities for savings are usually there.
Plan. Plan. Plan.
Whatever you do this holiday season, DON’T walk into your local mall without a detailed plan. This is how the most heinous shopping mistakes are made (and bank accounts are drained).
Plan out your holiday shopping in-depth. You’ll receive the most bang for your buck this way:
Categorize: Who needs what? Who likes what? How much are you willing to spend on each person? Document it all and allot a set budget for each person you’re shopping for.
Research: What stores in your area have the best deals? Is Black Friday the time to shop, or maybe it’s the week before Christmas? This will save you time AND money.
Coupon: Always use coupons for that little bit of extra savings. Amazing sites to stock up on holiday shopping coupons are RetailMeNot, Valpak, and The Krazy Coupon Lady.
Remember: Don’t forget to allot things like gift wrap, food for holiday dinners, and extra electricity from visiting family into the budget. Small expenses can add up if neglected.
Here at PayActiv, we know nothing puts a damper on your holiday spirit like worrying sick over financial stress, watching your debt increase, and having zero savings in the bank. Yet luckily, these 3 steps will help you become a deal-finding, money-saving holiday shopper to remember.
So put the credit cards down. Cut back the extra expenses. Plan out your shopping precisely. And, don’t forget to utilize the PayActiv platform for extra financial backup this holiday season!
Last but not least? Happy holidays, from the PayActiv family to yours.