4 Simple Stress Eliminating Spending Habits to Adopt This Holiday Season

The Holidays are fast approaching and with that often comes the holiday cash-crunch many of us experience. Between shopping for gifts, holiday parties (well, not in 2020), special dinners and family obligations, your bank account is sure to feel the pressure. How can you minimize the spending stress during the holidays? Adopt these 4 simple spending habits to make the holidays enjoyable for you and your finances.

Talk With Your Family About Expectations – This is very important for those with big extended families. With the financial stressors many people have dealt with this year, it might be time to adopt a “secret Santa” gift exchange to limit the amount of gifts purchased. You could also implement a children only gift policy. Many folks are more inclined to appreciate quality time together rather than receiving a gift. Lastly, for those with families in faraway places, travel can increase holiday spending quickly. With COVID-19 and tightened budgets, this might be the year to avoid the cross-country flight. You’re surely not the only person having these thoughts in your family, and a conversation about expectations can alleviate stress for you, your family and your finances.

Avoid Taking on Debt – Most of us find it a little too easy to run up our credit card balances during the holidays, thus creating added stress. According to Nerd Wallet, nearly 60% of 2019 holiday shoppers incurred some credit card debit during the holiday season. Start a new tradition this year of using only cash or your debit card for purchases, or opt to use vendors that may actually pay you to use their card.

Using a debit card will help you stay on budget and prevent you from incurring any additional debt as well as help your credit score. Credit utilization is the second biggest factor in your credit score, so keeping utilization down will help keep your score up.

Use the Holiday Season for Deals – The holiday season offers huge savings on gifts you may have already planned to purchase. Shopping this year will look a little different considering the current climate, but there are still deals to be had. In fact, many retailers will be starting sales earlier and online which favors consumers. When it comes to deal shopping, it’s best to start with a budget for those you’re shopping for and stick to it. If you didn’t have a new TV in your budget, then buying one at discount doesn’t really save you money. Create a budget and a plan for those you’re buying gifts for and don’t stray.

One easy way to stay on track is to use apps in your favor. Many of the top stores such as Target, Best Buy and Amazon have apps that incentivize shopping from the app with discounts. Lastly, compare deals between retailers. Do a little research ahead of time to compare items and swap them out as necessary if you find a better deal. Sales during the holidays can be a huge financial opportunity for you but if done wrong, it can be a potential pitfall. Stick to a budget, use incentives from apps and compare deals and your deal shopping should be stress free.

Take Advantage of Free Shipping – Whether sending gifts to distant relatives or making regular purchases during the holidays, it’s important to make sure you’re avoiding any shipping costs to save as much money as possible. With COVID-19, there’s a higher likelihood stores will be offering free shipping and in order to alleviate any extra spending and stress, it’s recommended you seek these retailers out and buy from them. In 2019, many stores offered free shipping through most of December, including Best Buy, Target, Macy’s, Amazon and Nordstrom to name a few. You can expect most of the same from them and other retailers in 2020. Lastly, make sure any cards or family photos are mailed through the postal service with appropriate timing. Visit FedEx, UPS, etc. for shipping deadlines to ensure relatives and family friends get your holiday cards in time. Saving money via free shipping helps cut down on costs and alleviate any stress of having to spend a day at the mall.

Whatever you celebrate and however you celebrate it, the holidays shouldn’t be a time for stress and worry. With a little planning and creativity you can make it through the holiday’s debt free with money in your savings account. Adopt the mentioned habits and your holidays are sure to be stress free. Focus your time and energy on things that matter like family and quality time with loved ones.

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