Holidays look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stick to your budget. Every year the increase in only holiday shopping increases, but this year it’s expected to increase by unprecedented amounts. Due to COVID-19 and statewide restrictions, many are choosing to shop online this year. Similarly, many are also facing unemployment, so holiday shopping plans may take a hit. Let’s look at some ways to save money around the holidays without sacrificing any of the fun.
Set up a holiday budget
The last couple of months of the year are when we tend to throw our budgets out the window. It’s easy to go into the holiday season with the best intentions of sticking to a budget, but when the time comes, it’s common to get wrapped up in the holiday spirit and spend extra funds that we haven’t budgeted for. The single best way to not overspend and save money around the holidays is by making a realistic budget and sticking to it.
Look for online, drive-up, or curbside shopping deals
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many are hesitant to shop in stores. Those who are willing to shop in person are being met with restrictions, like quantity limits and how many people can shop at one time.
Since many stores are encouraging shoppers to shop online, curbside, or drive-up, they are also offering special deals for those who do. Target and Walmart offer special delivery same day and two-day delivery options, with many small businesses offering discounts for supporting local. Check with your favorite stores to see what deals they are offering.
Use credit cards, but do so with caution
Credit cards are an excellent tool to have in your financial arsenal, but only if you use them correctly. Some credit card companies are offering cashback deals when you shop this holiday season. Discover is offering 5% cashback during the holiday season when you shop at Target.com, Walmart.com, or Amazon.com.
The big caveat to credit cards is responsible use. Never go into consumer debt with them-pay them off in full, every month. If you must carry a balance, consider a balance transfer to a 0% APR card while you pay it down. This can save anywhere from tens to thousands of dollars in interest over the course of your payment plan.
Avoid last-minute shopping
It’s true; prices always go up the longer you put off your holiday shopping. As demand goes up, so do prices. Your best bet is to finish your shopping a few weeks before Christmas. Black Friday is tricky because oftentimes the products that are on sale are marked up, making the sales too good to be true. This year is different because of the pandemic, and that’s causing significant shipping delays. To ensure your presents arrive on time, start shopping now.
Get creative at home
WIth minimalism becoming popular, many are steering away from Christmas lists and wanting homemade items instead. Spend a day cooking some favorite holiday treats, wrap them in tissue or bags from the dollar store, and you’ve made gifts that will keep both bellies and your wallet full. Homemade scarves, gloves, and socks are great gifts to give.
It’s easy to overspend during the holidays, but these simple tips will help you stay on track.
Originally published at https://www.seniorfinanceadvisor.com.