Spend Less, Enjoy the Holidays

11/22/2022 Written by: Jenny Boudreau

The holidays are upon us – a time for cherished family traditions and perhaps a little financial stress. Before you find yourself frazzled, review the following suggestions for tips to help make the holidays less stressful and less expensive.

Before your first shopping trip, make a holiday budget and stick to it. Write down who you need to buy for and what you want to buy. Do some research online to determine who has the best price on the gifts you're looking for. And remember to plan for extra or unplanned expenses.

Many people find themselves buying on impulse, but with proper planning, you can avoid impulse spending. In addition to sticking to your list, it may be helpful to shop alone. Bring plenty of water and snacks, too – being tired or hungry can make it easier to buy on impulse.

Did you know that if you do all your shopping with a credit card, you can spend as much as three times more than you planned? Leave the credit cards at home to avoid running up your credit card bill. Instead, review your shopping list and bring cash in the amount you budgeted.

Using a credit card does provide protection that paying with cash doesn't. So, if you decide to shop with credit cards, don't use more than two. Try limiting yourself to a low-interest rate credit card for any purchases you may need to pay off over time and another credit card you can pay in full when the bill arrives. Keep track of your purchases, so you don't lose track of your spending.

Pause before taking advantage of a perceived bargain. If it seems like a good deal, ask yourself if you would buy the item if it weren't on sale.

If you're planning to do most of your holiday shopping online, be sure to protect yourself from cybercriminals.

  • Credit cards and services such as PayPal offer additional security if you become the victim of a cybercrime.
  • If you're trying to minimize the use of credit cards, consider a pre-paid credit card.
  • Stick with companies you're familiar with to avoid dangerous websites.
  • Ensure the URL of the website you are on has an "S" for security. Example: "HTTPS:" not just "HTTP." You may also see a lock next to the web address, which indicates the site is secure.
  • If you're shopping on an auction site, be sure to check the seller's references.
  • Never put credit card information or personal information like Social Security numbers in an email.
  • Never respond to offers that come in unsolicited emails.
  • Don't click on links that come through a text message from numbers you don't recognize.

The best gift you can give yourself this year is to take time and plan your holidays. It can be easy to lose sight of your budget. Think about what you really want and how you plan to spend your time, energy, and money.

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