Helpful tips to make your shopping stress free this holiday season
Holiday shopping can be lots of fun, but it can also cause lots of stress! It’s a time of year when we all tend to spend more than we do normally and if you’re not careful, debt can pile up quickly. It can be hard to keep your spending in check when festivity is on your mind.
We struggle with that too. At this time of year, with the holidays approaching, a lot of our Coca-Cola Credit Union members approach us looking for holiday savings tips and holiday money saving ideas.
Since this is a topic we’ve thought a lot about, here are five holiday money saving tips and ideas to take the stress out of holiday shopping this year.
#1: Buy Everything with Cash
You don’t need us to tell you how easy it can be to overspend when you’re buying everything with plastic. If you’ve got a decent credit limit, you might be tempted to spend big on holiday gifts and be stuck with a boatload of debt later.
Instead, why not do things the old-fashioned way and pay with cash this year? The main benefit of paying with cash is that you’ll know exactly how much you’re spending. Of course, be sure not to use the cash advance option on your credit card if you go this route. The high interest rates for cash advances will negate anything you might save by paying with cash.
#2: Set Spending Limits
How much will you spend on each person on your holiday list? If you answer with a shrug, it may be a good idea to nail down those limits while there’s still time.
Some families set per person spending limits every year. If yours doesn’t, there’s still time to suggest it. Even if your family resists, though, it’s still a good idea to know ahead of time what your limits are.
You may even want to combine this tip with the first one. Take out exactly what you want to spend, in cash, and then use what you’ve got in your holiday gift envelope to buy all your gifts. You can keep a copy of your list in the envelope together with your receipts. That will help you stay on track and avoid overspending.
#3: Be a Comparison Shopper
Are you the type of person who buys a gift the first place you see it for sale, or the kind who shops around for bargains? It’s time to embrace the latter option if you want to save money.
For example, say your favorite niece wants a video game for the holidays. It’s within your spending limit, so you could just buy it at the first place you visit. But instead, try doing a bit of online comparison shopping first:
- If you’re in a store, use your phone to compare their price with online retailers
- Search for store coupons
- Ask if the store you’re in has a “we won’t be undersold” policy