It’s hard to have a happy holiday when you’re stressed about money. If you haven’t already started putting money aside for your gift giving, below are a few tips for holiday spending from Prospera Credit Union.
‘Tis the season
The first step in any savings plan, no matter what the goal or timeframe, is looking at your budget. Begin with your monthly budget for December. Is there anything you can cut back on for this month? The season of giving might mean skipping your morning coffee run or scaling back on date night. Even short-term sacrifices can mean big savings.
Your new holiday budget will incorporate your regular monthly costs, holiday-related costs (travel, lodging, cookies for the class holiday party, etc.) and what you have available to spend on gifts. Looking at your revised budget, is there any remaining wiggle room? Consider carpooling to Grandma’s house, staying with friends or relatives instead of a hotel, and making food instead of buying it. Those savings will add up and go toward your shopping fund!
Make a list…check your budget twice
Make a list of who you’d like to buy gifts for before you go shopping and consider breaking that list into tiers if you don’t want to spend as much on your work Secret Santa as you do on your spouse or child. Browse sale fliers or the Internet to get some ideas for gifts before hitting the stores. Impulse buys typically equal wasted money.
If you can’t stick to your list, at least stick to your budget; when gift-spiration strikes at the store, consider a swap instead of an addition. It’s fine to change your mind about what you’re getting someone, but remember how any cost differences will affect your overall budget.
Give from the heart
Consider people on your gift list who would appreciate your time and talents instead of a new sweater or gadget. Creating handmade cards, certificates or punch cards listing what you’ll do is a nice gesture, and is an activity the whole family can do together. Think of things that can be low or no cost to you but in high demand to loved ones:
- House cleaning
- Cooking a meal
- Hosting a playdate
Holiday gifting doesn’t have to break your bank. Set a realistic budget, stay organized and stay in the spirit of the season!
Prospera Credit Union has 5 Locations in Appleton, Darboy, Neenah, Menasha and Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Appleton Branch and Corporate Offices
4830 N. Ballard Rd.
N9660 County Rd. N
849 Warsaw St.
934 S. Green Bay Rd.
90 Wisconsin St.