Piggy bank with present and tree

7 Holiday Spending and Savings Tips

How to Plan Ahead and Stay Within a Budget

The holidays come with a lot of extra expenses. All of that ho-ho-ho can put a strain on any budget. Instead of spending more than you can afford, we’ve put together seven tips to help keep your finances in order and you out of unnecessary debt. 

  1. Set the Budget and Stick to It: Some families use a set amount of cash to ensure they don’t go over budget, making every purchase with paper money. This method does keep a person honest, but it’s not entirely safe. We suggest depositing your total budget into a secure Central Willamette CU savings account. Every time you make a holiday-related purchase, transfer the money from that account into checking. Once your holiday savings account is empty, you’re done spending money for the holidays. 
  2. Make a Detailed List: Who are you buying gifts for? What meals are you providing? Do you have any travel expenses? Don’t forget about the tree, wrapping paper, greeting cards, and a new ugly sweater. Make a list before you start shopping and planning. Be sure to include an estimated cost for each item and overall purchase. With that list in hand, you’ll be less likely to overspend and/or buy unnecessary items.
  3. Track Every Purchase: If you buy something for the holidays, keep the receipt and enter it into a spreadsheet or paper tally. It’s another way to ensure you don’t go over your budget. You’ll also know if you’re nearing the limit of your overall holiday spending. 
  4. Reduce the Number of Gifts: Does Aunt Ruth really need a holiday gift from you? What about Ted in the finance department at work? If you’re trying to reduce expenses, trim the number of people on your gift-giving list as much as possible. To further reduce gift expenses within your family, start a gift exchange. 
  5. Don’t Use Store Credit: Sure, store charge accounts keep your personal holiday budget intact, but you will eventually have to pay the bill. And if there are any fees or interest, you’ll end up paying even more for those seasonal expenses. 
  6. Don’t Procrastinate: Last-minute shoppers and travelers always pay more. Start shopping early, look for sales, and buy your airline tickets as soon as possible. 
  7. Give Yourself a Gift: Whether you’re saving for a home, working toward a new car, or simply want to boost your retirement options, set aside some money for yourself. These can include adding to your savings, making an extra loan payment, and more. 

Happy Holidays from Central Willamette CU

Whether you want to open a special savings account for your holiday spending, or you’re looking for a new credit card to take on your trip to see the family, we can help. If you have questions, visit any branch or call (541) 928-4536.