8 Holiday Tips to Get You Through the Year

The holiday season is a special time, with Christmas movies on TV, Christmas carols on the radio, and a growing list of people to shop for. The pressure to overspend when you’re rushing to buy everything on your list can be overwhelming. No worries. allU.S. Credit Union has you covered! Read on for fantastic pre-and post-holiday tips to ensure you’ll have a holly, jolly Christmas without breaking the bank.

Pre-Holidays Tips

1. Revise your gift list 

Gift giving is a treasured tradition, but the likelihood is, most of the people you exchange gifts with would be relieved to be taken off your gift list. It’s important to narrow down your gift list. Talk to coworkers and acquaintances about just exchanging cards this year, or make a deal to only exchange homemade or inexpensive gifts.  This way, you can focus on buying special gifts for those closest to you. 

2. Organize a Yankee Swap or Secret Santa

Do you have a shopping list that’s a mile long and no money or time to whittle down that list? Try one of these creative solutions! A Yankee Swap or a Secret Santa activity saves money and stress. These swaps are great for family gatherings, office parties and even neighborhood get-togethers. Everyone involved only needs to bring a single gift – and it’s always fun.  You can check out online tips for organizing a fun and affordable Yankee Swap or Secret Santa.

3. Bake holiday delicacies

Another great way to reduce the financial weight of your gift list is to break out the baking supplies and start whipping up your own holiday treats instead of buying gifts. No one turns down a tin of homemade holiday cookies! 

4. Make a budget and stick to it

This tip sounds a bit obvious. We all plan to stick to a budget, right? But make this the year it really happens!  Don’t set yourself a budget you can’t stick to. Set an unconditional limit to how much you will spend on the holidays. This will encourage you to plan your spending rather than engage in impulse buying.  It will also encourage you to look for great deals, which brings us to our next tip.

5. Make use of holiday deals, but don’t get preoccupied

It’s easy to become excited by good deals. Prices drop and everyone goes wild, spending more than you originally intended because you don’t want to miss out on those “crazy, low holiday prices.”

Just remember, take advantage of those “crazy good deals” for those people on your Christmas list.  But don’t be tempted to use those deals to buy items you don’t really need.

6. Reconsider giving 

We know that the holidays are all about giving – but that doesn’t always mean spending your hard earned money. Why don’t you think of other ways you can give that will help improve your community, and brighten someone’s holiday?

It’s the perfect time of year to volunteer at local soup kitchens and homeless shelters.  This kind of giving doesn’t cost anything, but can be a very memorable experience.  To find local volunteer opportunities, click here.

Post-Holiday Tips 

1. Use your gift cards

Gift cards are a typical holiday gift, but many people forget they have them, and they go unused. Put all of your gift cards in your wallet and spend them creatively. Use them and appreciate them for what they are – money in your wallet.

2. Invest in next year’s regifting effort 

In addition to gift cards, you’ll probably find yourself with a bunch of gifts you don’t really want. Some of these can be saved and re-gifted next year or used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Even if you don’t actually want it, you can find someone else who does! 

What’s The Bottom Line?

Don’t let your debt become the Scrooge that robs the fun from your holiday season. Spend time with your friends and family, base your gift buying on sentiment rather than dollar value, and avoid giving yourself year-round debt. If you can follow these tips, when your holiday bank statements arrive in the New Year, you’ll find yourself singing “Joy to the World”.