For many, the holiday season is a time for financial stress and anxiety. If you feel like you spend more time stressing rather than enjoying yourself during the holidays, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) offers sage advice.
“With the upcoming holiday season, many of us find ourselves stretching our budgets to cover the cost of gifts, travel, dining, etc. Because of this, it’s all too easy to end up in a financial slump at the very start of the new year,” explained Deidre Davis, MSUFCU’s chief marketing officer. “Through proper planning and execution, however, you have the power to keep a positive account balance while still enjoying the season.”
Here are a few ways MSUFCU suggested you can use to save and reduce stress:
“Save throughout the year by adding money to an account dedicated to holiday spending,” Davis said. Even if you’re just setting aside one dollar a day, you’ll be surprised at how helpful this can be when next year comes around.
Consider a special account limited to two withdrawals per year, which allows you to save without the temptation of spending the money throughout the year.
Skip-a-pay allows you to use the money on other things during the holidays. Be aware that you could still accrue interest.
To avoid starting the new year feeling stressed about your finances, Davis has a few additional tips for your spending habits.
Set a budget
Plan your purchases beforehand to avoid overspending. Determine how much you can spend overall, and then allocate parts of your budgets to certain people and items.
Your financial institution should be able to help you start saving early, whether it be throughout the year or just in the weeks/months leading up to the holidays. This may also be a good time to talk to your family about some savings methods you can practice together, such as setting aside spare change or allowances so that kids can learn the importance of budgeting, too.
Be on the lookout for deals
Around the holidays, many stores offer deals on their products to encourage buying in bulk. The best place to find deals is online because it’ll allow you to compare prices across different store websites.
Eliminate stress by checking off your gifts list from the comfort of your couch and having items shipped right to your doorstep. Don’t forget to factor in shipping prices and time.
Keep credit card perks in mind
If using credit, use cards that offer cash back or other brand incentives to get the most out of your spending.
For more information about holiday savings, visit msufcu.org or reach out to your financial institution.