Handle your hard-earned money responsibly while fully enjoying the holidays. Busey has six tips to help keep your wallet as fat and happy as the jolly old man himself.
1) Plan to be good. If you do only one thing to help curb your holiday spending this year, make a budget. Even if you do not stick with it, it will keep you mindful of what’s coming out of your wallet.
2) Make a List. Check it Twice. It’s easy to be generous over the holidays, but it’s not necessary to purchase a gift for everyone. Make a list of family and close friends you’d like to purchase gifts for and stick to it. When an unexpected opportunity (or obligation) arises, remember that a gift can take many forms. Homemade baked goods, a thoughtful note of appreciation, or an invitation for lunch after the holidays are several ways you can pay it forward without spending it all right now.
3) Remember the little things. Thoughtful gifts can be priceless, but sometimes even the most frugal shopper forgets to account for the cost of postage, wrapping paper, holiday happy hours, additional travel expenses and charitable contributions. Whether you keep a running total of holiday-specific expenses on a spreadsheet, in your accounting software or through a stack of receipts, be mindful of your extra expenditures. It will help you avoid the credit card statement shock in January.
4) Give credit where credit is due. While it is ideal to use cash for holiday spending, sometimes using your credit card is your only option. If you use credit, try to use only one card (preferably the one with the lowest rate and the longest billing cycle). This will keep all of your holiday expenses in one place and allow you to keep track of any erroneous charges. Commit to paying off the bill as soon as possible and resist the urge to apply for store credit cards you don’t need; that one-time discount may end up costing you more than you realized.
5) It’s better to gift and receipt. Remember to hold onto your receipts for every holiday gift purchase. There are three reasons for this: for returns, for tracking purposes, and to compare all purchases against your credit and debit statements to ensure that all holiday charges match up..
6) Holiday Account-ability. Many banks offer special savings accounts just for holiday spending. Busey’s Holiday Club Account is an interest-bearing, no minimum balance account that gives you the flexibility to automatically transfer funds each month from your checking account. If you don’t have a separate holiday savings account yet, it’s not too late to set one up. Having a specific account for gifts, funds and charitable donations is a great way to keep your holiday budget in check.
Instead of overspending this holiday season, challenge yourself to be both thoughtful and impactful with your gifts. Remember, your time (which is free!) may be the most meaningful present they receive.