The holidays aren't just around the corner; they're here! Once we entered November, it was off to the races to figure out perfect gifts for our loved ones, plan family gatherings and make travel arrangements. When we start compiling the list of the people we want to visit and celebrate this holiday season, it can get quite long. Have no fear, though — Florida Credit Union is ready and prepared to help with tips and tricks to make sure you're not paying off your spending this holiday season until December 2022.
Collect Those Coupons
Getting that buy-one get-one deal at your favorite store during the holidays can certainly help save some money, but many companies offer additional savings coupons and incentives you can take advantage of if you know where to look. Sometimes, items can be on sale online, but not in store. Many stores will price-match if you can show the cashier that it’s on sale on their website. Signing up for the store’s email newsletters is also a great way to get coupon codes and learn about sales and special deals before you head out the door.
If you're more of an online spender, an excellent resource for huge savings is a free browser extension called Honey. Plug this super helpful tool into your favorite browser, and when you're about to hit "purchase," Honey will check for any active coupon codes that can be applied to your purchase.
Make a Budget and Use Your Debit Card
What sounds obvious can be incredibly beneficial if you're able to stick to it. To avoid overspending, creating a realistic budget can help you stay in check while you shop. During the holidays, using your debit card can help avoid unnecessary impulse purchases and curb any excess spending. If you really want to put a hard limit on what you can spend, you can take out cash for the amount you budgeted to spend on gifts in-store. If you shop more online, you can get a pre-paid Visa gift card as a way of setting guard rails on your spending. If you’re about to spend more than you budgeted, you’ll have to refill the card or take out more cash, giving you an extra second to really consider if the purchase is necessary.
Suggest a Family Gift Exchange
No one wants to be the one to suggest it, but we promise when the extended family gathers to exchange gifts, they'll all be grateful that every single one of you didn't have to buy something for… every single one of you! Before the holidays kick into high gear, suggest a “Secret Santa” or “White Elephant” gift exchange instead. This way, everyone gets a gift to open, plus each gift fits within a pre-determined price limit.
Avoid Department Store Credit Cards
If possible, opt out of unique charge cards from stores. Unless you can pay off the balance in full each time you use it, the rates are often incredibly high and don't make the rewards that many of them offer worth it in the long run. Instead, go for their free rewards program, and you can get great deals and extra coupons that will help move you toward the finish line of your list.
The earlier, the better seems to be the enduring theme for almost any task, and holiday spending is no different. Sit down and plan out gifts and budgets as early as possible to help alleviate stress and the overspending rush purchases can create. No one wants overdraft fees!
The true focus of the holidays is about spending time with your loved ones. So, before you head out on that first big shopping trip or start to arrange your charcuterie board for the annual holiday get-together, take a deep breath and remember that everyone just wants to be together; that's it! Gifts are fun, but we all know there is so much more to the magic of the holidays. If you want to get started on next year's gift budgeting early, consider looking into our holiday club savings account!
From everyone at Florida Credit Union, we hope you have a warm and happy holiday season, and we are so glad to get to partner with you as you reach your financial goals.
Florida Credit Union is a full-service financial institution. Founded in 1954 as the Alachua County Teachers’ Credit Union, FCU now services nearly 130,000 members in 48 counties throughout North and Central Florida. For more information on the services we provide, visit FLCU.org or call us at 1-800-284-1144.