October 7th 20020 - written by Amanda Huinink
A few years ago, we wrote about the importance of holiday planning in September (link blog) to avoid overspending in December. Although the holiday season may look a little different this year without holiday parties, expensive new outfits or big gift exchanges, creating a plan for these new and changing holiday traditions is still just as important – maybe now more so then ever!
Take advantage of the downsize in gift exchanges, without spending more on the family members you will be celebrating with. We believe this year is a great time to look at your financial situation and plan for how much you can truly afford. Everyone’s finances have taken a hit in one way or another because of COVID-19 and focusing on quality time with those closest to you should be more important then buying extravagant gifts or making big travel plans.
Here are a few things we think you should consider when planning for the holiday season ahead:
Start saving now! Putting away $25 or $50 a pay will add up over the next 10 weeks. Having this savings set aside helps when budgeting for gift giving or holiday dinner grocery shopping. All the small savings will help make for a relaxed and cheerful holiday season.
Consider a small Christmas loan or line of credit if you think your expenses are going to add up. We start offering our holiday loans in November to help pay for additional costs this holiday season may bring. Manage a low interest holiday loan, with the flexibility of paying it off over the course of the year. This is a much better alternative to using your credit card at a rate of 19% (on average). Talk to one of our specialist about our personal loans or lines of credits.
Scale down your holiday spending. If you do still plan on having a small family gathering, this may be the perfect year to scale back on gifts. Talk to your loved ones about reducing and/or putting price limits on your gift exchange. Switch to a Secret Santa style gift exchange instead of buying for everyone you are celebrating with. COVID-19 is impacting everyone. Plan for your holiday expenses early and give this years holiday spending a “holiday” while using the season to cherish time spent with your loved ones.