This holiday season is going to be extraordinarily different from ghosts of holiday pasts. Not only will gatherings be unlike what we’re used to, so will many of our bank accounts due to job loss and transitions.
The pandemic has no doubt caused financial woes for Americans across the country and with the impending holiday season, anxiety is likely setting in.
In an effort to help ease some stress, we turned to our partnership with RBC Wealth Management for tips and tools on how to be more mindful of our holiday expenses.
RBC was responsible for helping us make sure our mom’s finances were taken care of during her illness as well as for settling her financials after she passed. We are grateful for RBC and the tools they empower us with when it comes to managing our own accounts.
On a more personal note, I am often a bit flippant when it comes to holiday spending. I never create a budget, I spend as I buy. This year I need and want to be much more mindful of how I plan to spend this season.
With that being said, I am very much looking forward to implementing the suggestions offered by RBC.
And now, a word from our sponsor on how we can better manage our holiday spending:
It’s that time of year again – time for the annual holiday shopping frenzy. To avoid spending more than you can afford, here are a few helpful tips to help you avoid a financial hangover come January.
Before heading out to the mall and stocking up on all of the season’s deals, consider setting a spending limit, with an idea of what you plan to purchase ahead of time.
Ask yourself, how much can I afford to spend? And plan accordingly. Creating a budget and planning your purchases can help you stick to your spending limit and avoid going into debt.
Not having a budget in mind can be costly – especially with most Americans carrying five or six credit cards.
Create a list of people you want to buy for, and include a dollar amount next to each. Even those who will receive a small gift should be a part of the list, as the small gifts tend to be the ones you have not budgeted for, and can really add up. Money spent on Christmas cards, holiday parties, or other holiday-related items and events also should be included on this list.
Once you have determined who you will be buying for and how much you would like to spend on each, make sure the grand total is manageable and within your budget.
Planning ahead and knowing what you would like to purchase and where, can save you a lot of time and money down the road.
Setting a plan will not only help you stick to your budget, but it can help you find the best deals by comparison shopping and avoid spending money on many impulse purchases that result from browsing.
Another option to consider is online shopping.
Although you don’t get that same in-store experience, you will be able to eliminate gas expenses, avoid long lines, and be able to compare prices amongst retailers at the click of a button rather than driving across town to find the better deal. Many times, e-retailers offer special online deals and free shipping around the holiday season.
If you plan on using credit, other considerations apply as well.
Remember – it’s usually easier to spend more when using a credit card, so sticking to your budget can be more challenging. When planning your budget, it helps to keep in mind how much you would pay if you were only going to use cash, allowing you to pay off your credit card and avoid accumulating debt. If you know this is not possible, you may want to rethink your budget, or at least make sure you are using a credit card with a few months of no interest on the purchases.
Additionally, be sure to keep your receipts and compare them with your monthly bill, and promptly report your problems to the credit card issuer. Keeping a close eye on your receipts is never a bad idea, especially when you’re waiting in long lines and cashiers are rushing to help the next guest. Double-checking what you paid is just another way to ensure your money is going where you planned to avoid overspending.
After the holidays are over, January can be a good time to implement your spending strategy for next year.
As part of your New Year’s resolution, consider creating a holiday gift fund to help save small amounts of money throughout the year.
Putting a little money aside each month can really help when it’s time to start drafting the holiday gift list all over again.