Making a holiday budget isn’t that hard, but sticking to it is another matter. When you have a long list of gifts to buy and events to attend on a small budget, it often seems impossible to keep your holiday spending within the limits you’ve
set for yourself. Next thing you know, you’re giving up in frustration and pulling out the credit cards. To avoid this pitfall, you need to stretch your dollars. With a few adjustments in the way you plan for, shop for, and celebrate the holidays,
you can save on just about everything on your holiday list, from gifts to entertainment.
One way to save on holiday gifts is to rein in expectations – both your own and other people’s – about how many presents you need to give and how big they need to be. For instance, if you currently give presents to distant
relatives and friends you seldom see, perhaps you could send them cards instead.
To shift other people’s expectations, talk openly with family, friends, and co-workers before you start your shopping. Explain that you’re on a tight budget and you need to give fewer presents or smaller presents than you have in the past.
There’s a good chance many of your friends and family members will welcome it.
You can also reset your expectations about other types of holiday spending. Go through the list of things you currently do for the holidays, such as sending out cards, hosting parties, decorating the house. Then ask yourself how many of them you really
enjoy and how many are just habits. By cutting out activities that don’t add to your holiday cheer, you can save time as well as money.
If you can’t pare down your gift list, make your dollars go further by shopping strategically. For starters, take advantage of sales – but don’t assume every item on sale is truly a good deal. Use price-comparison apps like ShopSavvy to
make sure you’re really getting the best price.
Consider doing at least part of your holiday shopping online. Aside from the convenience, it’s easier to compare prices and apply coupon codes to save money.
If you think your family members and friends won’t mind, shop secondhand for some of your holiday gifts. At thrift shops and on eBay, you can often find books, CDs, collectibles, and jewelry in great condition for much less than they’d
Finally, try to avoid getting carried away in the holiday frenzy. If you have a hard time controlling your spending, pay for things with cash or gift cards, so you can’t run up a big credit card bill. And when you’ve checked off every item
on your gift list, stay away from the mall to avoid temptation.
The items on your holiday list don’t always have to come from a store. In many cases, you can save by making them yourself. Festive things you can DIY for the holidays include:
Hiring a caterer for a holiday party is expensive, and making all the food yourself adds up to a lot of work and stress. The perfect solution is to make your event a potluck. When each person brings one dish, everyone gets to sample a wide variety
of foods, and no one has to assume more than a small share of the work and the cost. Ask each guest to bring a particular type of dish or make a list of what types of dishes and ask each guest what they would like to bring. Don’t
feel guilty about asking your guests to share the cooking. The main point of a holiday party isn’t the food or the drink. It’s the time you spend together.
For most people, the most special thing about the holidays isn’t the gifts. It’s the unique holiday traditions you share with the people you care about. However, some traditions are expensive. A trip to Disneyland or throwing an elaborate
party can eat up a major share of your holiday budget. To enjoy the holidays more while spending less, focus on traditions that cost little or no money. Try these:
Once the holidays are over, recheck your budget and see how well you managed to stick to it. If you stayed within your limits in every category, congratulations – you’ve figured out just what
works for you. If you went over budget in some categories but stayed within your total spending limit, that’s a sign you need to tweak your budget . If you blew your budget completely, start planning NOW for next year.
Open a Christmas Club Account at your credit union. Set up payroll deduction to have money sent to the account each pay period. Don’t withdraw any money from it until Oct. 1 and earn dividends. The money automatically goes into your regular
savings account on the first business day in October and you are ready to shop. (There is a $10 Fee for each withdrawal before Oct. 1)
$1,000 at 10% APR for $10 Months.
This loan is paid by payroll deduction and is paid off before the next Christmas. Available until Dec. 21.
Choose to skip your November OR December Loan payment for a $30 processing fee per loan. Dec. 8 is the Deadline to skip your December payment. Forms are on online, www.wkfcu.org or at either branch.
(Partially reprinted from moneycrashers.com)
(*Annual Percentage Rate. Membership and Approved Credit Required. Some Restrictions Apply. Limited Time Offers. Not all loans eligible for Holiday Skip-A-Pay).
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*APR = Annual Percentage Rate
*APY = Annual Percentage Yield
Rates are subject to change without notice
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