Financial Wellness - Preparing Your Budget for the Holidays
Know Your Limits
Many families have been affected by the economy, whether directly or indirectly. Trust me when I say, everyone understands. Please do not feel the need to overcompensate with extravagant gifts this season. Always have a shopping list prepared and create a spending plan. This will keep you in check with yourself and whether the purchases are viable for your budget.
The beauty of shopping online is that it allows you to do so from the comfort of your own home. No crowds, no rush, no pressure! With online shopping, you are more likely to find variety and you can price match across different retailers. With many retailers, you can sign up for additional coupons or offers, which can result in the price being less than if you had shopped in a physical store. Online shopping also gives you the added benefit of product reviews from unbiased sources.
This option works best the sooner you decide to do your shopping. With layaway, you can break up your purchase(s) into smaller weekly, biweekly or monthly payments, often with zero interest. Compared to other financing methods, such as buy now, pay later, layaway doesn’t require credit checks—most often just valid identification and a deposit.
Take Your Time
You should always take your time when preparing for holiday shopping, whether for gifts or your celebration. By taking your time, you can gather what you need little by little and without the pressure of a deadline. Always keep in mind, the closer you are to a particular holiday, the chances the price will be increased—so preparation is key.
We all have that loved one in our lives that is difficult to shop for because they have just about everything. So why not consider a homemade gift? Whether it is a sweet treat or something crafty, homemade gifts can not only save you money, but they show you care! A little personal touch can make gift giving and receiving that much more special, as it becomes a one-of-a-kind gift and allows for extra personalization.
Holiday Savings Account
Feeling overwhelmed for this year and want to be more prepared for the next holiday season? Consider setting up payroll deduction and opening a holiday savings account at your financial institution. You may contribute however much you’d like throughout the year, and when the holiday season approaches, you won’t find yourself having to rearrange your monthly budget. This is a great way to save a little at a time to help you reach your savings goals!
Carol Ann Aldridge is a certified lending counselor for Alive Credit Union. For more information about Alive Credit Union, call 904-296-1292 or visit Alivecu.coop.