Are You on the Naughty or Nice List? Financial Planning Tips for the Holidays

Overspending this time of year is incredibly easy. There are countless sales, family members to buy gifts for and shiny new products tempting us to swipe the credit card.

According to the National Retail Federation, US consumers plan to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items such as decorations and food, and additional “non-gift” purchases for themselves and their families this coming holiday season, inspired by friends, neighbors and celebrities on social media (source).

That’s a hefty amount just to enjoy the holidays. What if we told you that you could still enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank? Here are a few tips when it comes to financial planning this holiday season:

  1. Create your budget, but make it realistic

    Look at the facts when you create your budget. Look at numbers from last year and think about what has impacted your life this year. Whether the pandemic impacted your income or you had a kid or you bought a home, use these to help yourself set a realistic budget. Then most importantly stick to it.

  2. Suggest Secret Santa gift exchanges

    The holidays can be really overwhelming when you think about how many people there are to buy gifts for. Suggest doing a Secret Santa at work, amongst your friends and family to avoid buying multiple people gifts. We recommend adding a spending limit so no one feels the pressure of underspending or overspending.

  3. Freeze other expenses during this time period

    Are there other costs you can cut during this time of year? Take a look at your recurring costs, entertainment spending,  and subscriptions to see what you might be able to freeze to make room for gift giving. For example, since this is such a busy time of year, you may not need all the subscriptions to TV networks like you usually do!

  4. Get creative

    Everyone loves homemade gifts and are often more appreciated than store-bought because they show more thought. Don’t overlook making something for your loved ones this year! For example, you could put together a photo album and write out your favorite memories next to images or you could put together a “coupon book” full of ways you could spend time together with whomever you’re gifting it to.

  5. Price check

    Use your phone to price check gifts when you see something you want to give to someone. That’s right, several businesses will do price matching or offer discounts for signing up for their newsletter. You never know what retailer might have it for a lower price!

No matter how you approach the holidays, it’s important to remember the reason for the season and not go overboard getting caught up in all the sales and advertisements this time of year.