How to Keep Your Spending in Check This Holiday Season
Both time and money have a way of flying by faster than you realize. Before you know it, you’ll be hanging decorative lights and booking flights to visit your loved ones for the holidays. So, unsurprisingly, it’s easy to be caught off guard financially once the seasonal festivities are in full swing and you’re paying for gifts, decorations, and travel expenses.
However, with careful preparation, and by making a few adjustments to your budget, you won’t see your bank account zero out this year. Just follow these tips and tricks to keep your spending in check this holiday season.
Get a Grip on Your Current Debt Situation
If you want to manage your spending better, you first need to stop increasing your debt and halt any high-interest charges on your accounts. But, if you don’t have extra cash stowed away to dip into when an emergency or unexpected bill arises, you’ll be left trying to build those funds back up. To break out of that habit, open a savings account that will not only hold your money for a rainy day but also help it grow over time. Take a look at this list by MyBankTracker to learn about the best options for online savings accounts that can yield a high return over the long haul when responsibly managed.
However, not everyone has the money to start a savings account, and paying off existing debts first is often the best approach to gaining financial freedom in time for the holidays. We recommend knowing where you stand by getting a free credit report to identify which debts you need to tackle to improve your credit score and overall financial health.
Keep in mind that many credit card brands and other financial institutions offer apps for your smartphone or tablet that can help you monitor your account balance and available rewards. By staying updated on what you owe, you can better assess how much you can or cannot spend.
When to Consider Opening a New Credit Card
Sometimes, even the best budgets and payment plans aren’t enough to help you through the holiday season. Existing high-interest loans and credit card debt can eat into extra funds and leave little left over in your bank account.
Fortunately, there are a few methods that can help you get ahead financially. For example, many people find relief by applying for a credit card consolidation loan or transferring the balance of a high-interest credit card to a 0% APR card. With resources like these, you can monitor your credit and pay off debt at a faster pace, which means you’ll soon have more money available.
Be wary of the type of credit cards you choose to apply for, though. Store credit cards may be tempting as they often offer convenience and accessible savings when shopping for gifts and other supplies for the holidays. However, store cards tend to carry high APRs, hold few benefits, and they cannot be used on purchases outside the store brand. But, if you do end up opting for a store credit card, be sure to pay off the balance in full each month to avoid excessive interest costs.
A Few Ways to Cut Corners and Save Money
You can also make more room in your holiday budget by investigating areas of your lifestyle that could be costing you a pretty penny. For starters, look into all of your monthly subscriptions and identify which ones you aren’t getting much use out of. Streaming services, magazines, gym memberships, and subscription boxes for beauty or fashion aren’t always put to use and can make a big difference in your bottom line if canceled.
While it may seem obvious, you only stand to save by shopping with coupons and taking advantage of sales at your favorite stores for groceries, clothing, home goods, and everyday essentials. Save at your favorite grocery store by checking the weekly flyer for limited-time deals, or browse the internet for coupons to stack during checkout. Shopping the online stores of your favorite retailers rather than in physical store locations is another easy solution for finding lower prices on merchandise since many websites feature exclusive promotions along with free shipping deals. Plus, you can’t go wrong with browsing e-commerce giants, like Amazon, eBay, and Overstock before buying any product because you may find it offered for much less than at other stores.
Additionally, don’t overlook simple money-saving hacks that can add up. Some of the easiest ways to reduce spending are by reviewing your habits, like your daily commute to work or that morning cup of joe at your favorite coffee shop. See if you can try using public transportation to get to work or brewing your java at home to cut back on small-yet-frequent costs.
Embrace the Holidays with More Buying Power
Everyone wants to beef up their resources and be more prepared to face the traveling, the parties, and all the gift-giving during the holiday season. However, if you’re struggling to manage your finances even before Halloween, you may end up focusing more on your bank account balance and less on all the fun surrounding you once Christmas and other end-of-the-year celebrations come around.
That’s why getting your spending under control — by managing your current debt and better leveraging your credit resources — can make a big difference. So give these tips a try, and you’ll soon be ready to pay for whatever comes your way during the holidays. Cheers!