Tips on Making — And Sticking To — A Holiday Budget

09/21/2021

Holiday Saving Tips To Help You Shop, Spend, Save and Enjoy the Season

The holiday season will soon be upon us. Whether you love it or hate it, our tips can reduce the stresses of holiday spending and increase your enjoyment of the holiday season. By making a holiday spending plan and budgeting for the holidays, you can spend less and enjoy more. 

Tip #1:  Make a Holiday Budget

It’s always better to give than to receive — unless you don’t have a holiday budgeting plan in place. To enjoy the gift-giving season without any guilt-ridden overspending, set up a holiday budgeting plan — and stick to it. Begin by making a simple list of your holiday expenses, starting with all the people you want to buy for and how much you plan to spend on each of them. Don’t forget about charitable donations and small items like stocking stuffers, gifts for teachers and gift exchanges with co-workers. The best part about making a holiday budget? You’ll always know how much you have to spend.

Holiday travel is another expense you’ll need to budget for. If you’re driving, include gas and tolls. If you’re flying, include amounts for tickets, baggage fees, airport parking or the cost of a shuttle. And don’t forget about your pets. Budget for boarding them or for hiring a pet sitter.

The holidays are a time for joy, celebration and love. However, all the meals and holiday gatherings can put a dent in your wallet. That’s why it’s so important to include holiday entertainment in your budget. If you’re hosting a party or holiday meal, baking holiday goodies and treats or taking food to a potluck, add the cost to your holiday budgeting plan. 

And remember, if you want to set a holiday budget you can actually stick to, be sure it’s realistic for your personality and lifestyle, and your family’s.

Need a little help figuring out how much you can put away based on your monthly income? Check out our budget calculator.

Tip #2:  Plan Ahead for Holiday Savings

Now that you’ve got a handle on your gift list and other holiday spending expenses, make your dollars go further by taking advantage of Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other sales. Just don’t get carried away in the holiday frenzy and assume every item on sale is a good deal. To tell a genuinely excellent deal apart from a mediocre one, do your research. There are many price-comparison apps that can help your holiday finances go further — whether you’re shopping online or at the mall.

To take full advantage of holiday savings, plan early. Don’t wait for Black Friday to start holiday shopping — look for sales all year long. Doing so means your budget takes less of a hit at one time and you have more time to shop for sales. To save even more money, remember – it’s the thought that counts. For many people, spending time together is better than a physical gift. And remember, not everyone needs a gift. Have a thoughtful conversation with the people on your gift list. Maybe they want to cut back too. Buying one gift for one person, setting price limits on gifts, or only gifting inexpensive stocking stuffers could be just what everyone’s finances need. 

If there’s one thing that 2020, 2021 and COVID-19 taught us, it’s that you need to plan ahead for life’s unexpected events. And remember, don’t dip into your emergency fund to pay for holiday spending. Another good reason to plan ahead? Shipping times. More people than ever will be doing their holiday shopping online, and that means shipping delays. Experts predict that factory shutdowns, overwhelmed ports, and shipping shortages will accelerate in the second half of 2021, making procrastinating on your holiday gift shopping even riskier than usual. Avoid expensive expedited shipping costs. Plan ahead and shop early.

And don’t forget, stick to your budget when holiday shopping. Hold the excess spending and give the people on your gift list what they (affordably) want and need. Going into debt — especially holiday debt — is not the way to spend your hard-earned money.


Tip #3:  Save Money for the Holidays — And Throughout the Year

Don’t get so caught up in the holiday spirit that you forget about your other savings goals. Take control of your finances, stretch your budget, and get the most for your money with these tips. 

  • The way to save is to start early and save often. Set a specific savings goal and put aside money into a new or existing money market or savings account regularly.
  • Avoid getting caught off guard by holiday expenses with the simple and flexible United Christmas Club Account. An initial deposit of only $5 gets your savings started in this holiday savings account, and you’ll receive a single check in October. 
  • Get a complete picture of your finances anywhere, anytime. Using a Personal Finance tool helps you take control of your money by creating monthly budgets based on recent transactions. Plus, you can track your spending and plan for your future by creating a plan to help you reach your financial goals. At United, our Personal Finance tool is easy to use and is connected to your account through online banking and the mobile app

Our savings goal calculator helps you determine how much you’ll need to save each month to realize your next big purchase. Whether you’re buying a home, a car, or saving for an emergency fund, our calculator helps you determine how much to store away — making holiday planning that much easier. 

For more ways to build up your financial health during the holidays and all through the year, contact us. We’re here to help.

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