Guest Blog: How to Keep your Holiday Budget Merry and Bright

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Holiday Shopping

 

As the holiday season approaches, we are pleased to be able to share the following guest blog from our friends at BALANCE Financial Fitness.

 

Peruse the aisles of most department stores and you’ll see it: holiday items for sale.

 

Yes, whether or not you’re ready, the holiday season has officially begun. And while this time of year can be a great opportunity to connect with family, it can also be traumatic for your finances if you’re not careful.

 

So how do you buy gifts for everyone on your list without blowing up your budget? Try these tips:

 

Make a game plan with your partner

Communicating about finances is key to any successful relationship, and it’s especially important around the holidays. For couples who share accounts, make a gift list and set limits on what you can spend. This way you can avoid any tense conversations about dipping too deep into family finances later.

 

You’ll also want to review your checking account and credit card balances so that you don’t get too wrapped up in the holiday spending spirit. Set realistic goals. If you can’t pay off your purchases immediately or in a short amount of time, re-assess your plan.

 

Comparison shop online

One of the perks of online shopping is the ability to research. Before you click that “buy now” button, compare the item you’re considering by checking the price across different retailers. It might be listed full-price on one site, but on-sale on another.

 

Also look for free shipping. If you spend enough time researching different retailers, you may find a helpful discount on the delivery of your gift.

 

Rewards points to the rescue

If your credit card has a rewards or points program, check the rules. You may be able to apply your earned points towards purchases at major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Macy’s and more. True, you’ll give up the points for yourself, but avoiding holiday debt might be worth it.

 

Experiences may mean more

Whether or not you’re on a tight budget, sometimes the best gifts are low-cost, personal gestures. After all, it’s hard to find presents for people that they’ll actually love. So rather than spending a ton of cash, give a framed photo or cook a delicious meal for a family member or friend. A one-of-a-kind experience is more memorable than a gift you can easily buy from a store.

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