Black Friday and Cyber Monday – two days of the year that could easily turn into crazy, out-of-control spending if you’re not careful.
It’s easy to spend more than you can afford during the holidays. There are Thanksgiving celebrations, Christmas gift-giving, holiday-themed events, charitable donations, travel plans...the list goes on and on.
Speaking of lists, one of the best ways to stay on track when holiday shopping is to make a list. Decide who you want to buy gifts for, then set your budget. Knowing exactly who you will buy for, and how much you will spend on each person can help you keep your spending reined in. To simplify things, go ahead and print out this free holiday shopping list template to keep yourself efficient and productive.
According to Investopedia, the world's leading source of financial content on the web, the average U.S. family spent $967 on holiday gifts last year. That’s a lot of money for gifts alone! To get the holidays started off on the right foot and help prevent spending more than you can afford, visit Investopedia’s website. They offer up eight insightful tips on how to breeze through the holidays within budget and without turning into Scrooge.
Along with lists and budgets, the experts recommend using cash, instead of maxing out credit cards. But if you find yourself paying with plastic this year, consider moving your current high-interest credit card balance over to a low-interest VacationLand Federal Credit Union Visa®. By taking advantage of this special credit card balance transfer, you’ll save money, pay off debt faster and start the new year off in the black. You can even transfer balances from merchant and retailer cards such as Kohl’s or Old Navy! There's no balance transfer fee, annual fee, or cash-advance fee. And with a low 3.99% introductory APR for the first 18 months, you really can pay off your debt faster.
Planning ahead is also an excellent way to keep spending under control. As a VLFCU member, you can also use a club account to set funds aside ahead of time where they can earn a good rate of return. Set up a recurring transfer so your balance can grow, then when the holidays or a special spending occasion roll around, the funds will be waiting for you.
Low-interest loans are another smart way to manage your holiday budget. Through January 31st, VLFCU is making gift-giving easy and affordable with our Personal Loan Special. For those qualifying members, the rate is 5.99% and you can borrow between $900 - $2,500. There's no collateral required, and you can take up to 12 months to repay. All you have to do is sign on the line.
And here’s another way to make your holidays happy. For a limited time, you can earn double ScoreCard® rewards! Just use your VLFCU Visa® to shop for others, buy groceries for holiday meals or fuel up for holiday travel, and you will earn two points for every $1 you spend from November 23, 2018 – December 31, 2018. Then, you can redeem your points for cash back, gift cards, Cedar Point passes, merchandise and more. ScoreCard® Rewards are currently available on Rewards Visa®, Pink Visa® and Business Visa® credit cards.
Remember, a VLFCU membership is required to use these services. It’s easy. Just apply online here.
Along with reducing your financial woes this holiday season, here are some great tips for reducing your stress from Moneycrashers.com, a finance resource focused on financial fitness. They recommend:
- Don’t overspend. You don’t have to spend a fortune to find that perfect gift. Limit the amount you spend on each gift or limit the number of people you buy gifts for
- Agree to a family gift exchange. Money Crashers suggests planning the details on Thanksgiving, when the whole family is around. This makes it easy on you, and everyone else, letting you focus on finding one perfect gift for one person
- Consider a family gift. Find a present for the entire family, instead of separate gifts for siblings and parents.
- Make your own gifts. Be sure to choose a craft that looks thoughtful, and will be useful to the receiver.
- Shop sales. Money Crashers warns that not all holiday deals are really bargains. Black Friday still has the largest number of sales, followed closely by Cyber Monday, but you may find bigger discounts when shopping on Thanksgiving day.
- Shop wisely. Comparison shop, use coupons when possible, and stick to your list!
- When you’re finished shopping, stop! Don’t go online or stop at a store just to see what they have on “sale.”
Discover how your VacationLand Federal Credit Union can help you meet all your financial goals. Take a look at our complete line of products and services at vlfcu.org, or call 419.625.9025 or 800.691.9299. Together, we will keep holiday spending in check.