According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend 4.1 percent more during the holidays this
year, an average of more than $1,000 each. Not to worry, you can avoid getting carried away this holiday
season and stay on track for your savings goals by keeping a few simple tips in mind.
At the holidays, we want to let everyone in our circle know how much we appreciate them. From family and
friends to coworkers, neighbors and our kid’s teachers, even little gifts can quickly add up. To avoid
overspending, start by making a plan and committing to sticking with it. Create a list of the folks you want to
buy for and set a budget for each.
Start shopping early to take advantage of sales, special offers, and coupons to ensure you get the best deal on
popular items. Skim websites and circulars to find out what is on sale before heading out. Allow plenty of time to
comparison shop to be sure you find the best price. Use cash when possible to avoid racking up large credit
card bills and associated interest charges, and don’t forget to factor in shipping fees when shopping online.
Rather than fighting the crowds at the stores, consider making handmade gifts and treats instead! Giving of
your time and creating a personalized playlist, curating a set of your favorite recipes, or even re-gifting a book
that meant a lot to you can really show you care.
At family gatherings, opt for spending quality time together instead of spending money on gifts. The holidays
are a perfect time to create traditions that can be passed down to future generations. Whether it be
exchanging cards and letters, cooking special family dishes, or volunteering for local charities as a family, the
memories you make will outlast the latest gadget or toy.
It is possible to host a fabulous holiday party without breaking the bank! Welcome your guests with a variety of
simple bite-sized snacks and light appetizers. A few hot items combined with appealing deli and veggie trays
allow your guests to indulge without feeling too full. Resist the urge to purchase premade trays. You’ll be
surprised how much money you’ll save by taking the time to slice cheese and chop vegetables! Add a variety
of seasonal desserts to round out the menu.
If you are hosting a potluck, asking your guests to bring copies of their recipe to share with other party-goers is a
fun touch and a great conversation starter!
Serving punch or cider rather than alcohol is a big money-saver, but you could also ask guests to bring their
favorite bottle of wine or holiday beverage to share with the group.
Deck the halls with handmade decorations rather than spending money on cheaply made and overstocked
store-bought décor. Your unique embellishments will showcase your unique style and creativity.
Conventional wisdom suggests we should book holiday travel as far in advance as possible. In reality, the
holidays seem to arrive faster each year, and most of us are left scrambling to find travel discounts at the last
When hunting for a good deal on a flight, most of us check popular travel sites for last-minute discounts on
airfare. But many airlines offer exclusive deals, so be sure to check with your preferred carrier as well. If you
have been enrolled in a reward program, leverage your points and free flights wherever possible.
Other insider tricks for ensuring stress-free holiday travel include: being flexible with your travel dates, packing
light to avoid baggage fees, arriving early to ensure you make it through the long security lines, and bringing
snacks and an empty reusable water bottle to avoid spending money at expensive airport snack bars.
New Year New Plan
The holidays can be expensive, but if you make a plan, commit to staying within your limits, and keep your
savings goals top-of-mind, you will enjoy the holidays without worrying about getting off course.
Start the New Year off right with new savings goals in mind and updated approach to meeting them. What do
you plan to save for in the New Year? How will you adjust your strategy to reach your new goals?