According to the American Bankers Association, consumers spent more than $700 billion on holiday shopping in 2018. With this year’s holiday shopping season now underway, we’re highlighting five tips to help you keep your holiday spending under control – that is if you didn’t already break the bank over the weekend. We hope not!
Below are five habits Americans should consider to help relieve the financial stress of the holidays:
- Create a budget and stick to it. Set a dollar amount based on what you can afford this holiday season. Avoid shopping sprees and impulse purchases. Be sure to include a cushion for additional expenses beyond gifts, like decorations, wrapping paper, greeting cards, and postage. Keep in mind the end of the year is a time when large annual or semi-annual costs like car insurance, life insurance, and property taxes arise.
- Make a “nice” list. Jot down a list of everyone you plan to give gifts to this year and denote how much you can spend on each person. Consider making homemade presents, like photos for grandparents or cookies for your kids’ teachers. This list is also a good place to factor in the total amount you plan to donate to charities and how much each charity will receive.
- Shop early (and shop around). If you didn’t take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, have no fear. Many companies offer continued deals throughout the season. Don’t forget to use any points or rewards that you may have accumulated. And many retailers will match a price as long as you can show the ad that you’d like them to compete with.
- Save your receipts and monitor your account. Keep track of your expenses and add them up weekly to be sure you’re sticking to your budget. You can also use online and mobile banking features, like text alerts, to easily monitor your accounts and pay your bills. Be sure to keep receipts or acknowledgment letters for any charitable donations you have made if you want to receive tax deductions in the spring.
- Plan for next year. After the holiday, review how much you spent this past year and start a dedicated fund for next year’s holiday season. This is the perfect time to open a Chesapeake Bank Christmas Club account because you’ll have all year to save. Having money set aside will make budgeting for gifts and other holiday expenses easier next time.