4 Ways To Save Money During The Holidays
This post was sponsored by Regions Bank. All opinions are my own.
I wish I could say that every holiday season was easy financially and completely stress free. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth and there have been years in the past when I dreaded the financial strain that would coincide with the holidays. The holiday season is often dubbed “the most wonderful time of the year,” but for many Americans, it can be an incredibly stressful time financially. The National Retail Federation predicts that there will be a 3.7% increase in sales this year, with the average American set to spend an estimated $786 in the following categories:
- $459.87 on gifts for family
- $80.00 on gifts for friends
- $26.03 on colleagues
- $30.43 on the other people in their lives
Whether you are shopping online via your favorite website, or in-store, there’s often a strong temptation to spend too much money on gifts… eventually leading to a case of buyer’s remorse when January comes strolling along. Regions Bank, one of the largest U.S. banks with 1,630 branches across 16 states, has some valuable insights for consumers on how to prepare financially for the holiday shopping season. Here are a few tips to make this holidays season a bit less stressful financially:
1. Begin with the golden rule. Spending on gifts shouldn’t exceed more than 1.5 percent of your annual income. Use this rule as a guide to determine how much you should set aside to spend on gifts for your friends and family — and stick to it.
2. Separate and delegate. Consider creating a separate account to fund gift purchases and make regular contributions from your primary checking account in a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.
3. Only buy what you can truly afford. To prevent overspending, never leave home without a list of what you intend to buy, and be sure you have the money needed to cover your purchases once you arrive in-store.
4. Use timing to your advantage. While things like airline tickets should be booked far in advance, other items — toys in particular — often drop in price during the first two weeks in December. Sometimes it pays to wait, other times it does not, so be sure to check for deals before you head out shopping.
December is right around the corner and now is the ideal time to start mapping out your shopping strategy. I believe that setting a benchmark based on your income will be essential in preventing overspending. Creating a holiday savings account and funding it regularly is another great strategy. Always make sure you are only purchasing within the parameters of what you can truly afford! You need to know when to buy and when it would be in your best interest to wait. And remember, the holidays are meant to warm the heart — not burn the wallet!
Something that I do each year to help save money during the holiday is by creating a Christmas money jar. In addition to adding money to it each week, anytime I sell the kids outgrown clothes or other items, that money goes directly into the jar. You will be surprised how fast that money will add up when you choose to toss $10 in one week instead of purchasing coffees on the way to work. We like to keep our jar in a central location so everyone in the family can contribute. This has been so beneficial to our family each year and I recommend this to friends and family anytime they are looking for ways to save money for a specific occasion.
I would love to know what you thought about these holiday savings tips! Please let me know if you have any helpful advice to add on how to save money for the holidays.