The holiday season is finally upon us. It’s time to set up the decorations, bake special treats and spread some cheer with gifts for your loved ones. As we enjoy the festivities, it's easy to get lost in the spirit of it all and spread a little too much holiday cheer, which can lead to holiday debt.
Check out the tips below to learn how you can celebrate the holidays without breaking the bank.
1. Make a budget and stick to it
Create a list of everything you might need for the holidays. Take into account gifts, decorations, food, and party and travel expenses. Categorize your list to help determine the areas where you need to spend more money. And stick to your list to avoid any last-minute impulse items.
2. Make a list and check it twice
Think about all of your family members, friends and coworkers. Write down their names and then look at your budget to determine who you can afford to buy for and where you need to trim. A fun way to trim your list is to start a Secret Santa tradition with your friends. At work, ask your coworkers if they would like to chip in and buy a group gift for your boss.
3. Start early and shop around
Check around for the best deals. Sometimes online shopping has the best price, but don’t forget to figure in shipping costs if they apply. To save on potential shipping costs, order early to avoid paying for express or overnight shipping.
4. Give an unconventional gift
Think about gifts that offer unique or fun experiences like wine tasting, cooking lessons, skydiving or babysitting. Other alternative gift ideas include offering skills and talents like cooking, fixing something around the house, making tree ornaments or photography.
5. Save ahead
Saving throughout the year will lower year-end costs. Holiday spending is a recurring expense, so think about establishing a savings account dedicated to holiday costs. Marine Bank offers a Holiday Savings Account that only costs $1 to open. On the last business day of September, you choose to either receive a check or have your savings transferred to another Marine Bank Account. There are zero monthly fees attached to the account and it requires only $1 as a minimum daily balance.
In the end, the holidays are all about enjoying time with your friends and family. Avoid credit card debt by planning holiday expenses in advance. It’s a great feeling to head into the New Year on the right financial foot. Happy Holidays from all of us at Marine Bank!