5 Tips for Saving This Holiday Season

Between the festive décor, family gatherings, and big box sales, it’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and put your financial goals on the back burner. With the average consumer expected to spend more than $1,000 on holiday purchases this year, according to the National Retail Federation, you’ll need to be flexible if you want to stay on track financially this holiday season.

With a few tips from the personal finance experts at Black Hills Federal Credit Union, you’ll be ready to take on the holidays without sacrificing any of the fun. Here are some ideas to help you save and spend wisely this
December:

Make a Plan
​​​​​​Planning out all your purchases can help ease the financial stress that comes with holiday shopping. We recommend setting a spending cap, or at the very least allocate a specific amount to each person/event on your list. If it helps, consider a cash-only plan for your holiday purchases - when you’re out of cash, you’re done shopping. Just be sure to add in a little wiggle room for any unexpected or last-minute purchases.
 
Expert tip: Keep track of your holiday spending with Online Banking or BHFCU’s top-rated Mobile App.
 
Cut Back on Extras
From holiday lattes to funny ugly sweaters, the holidays are full of festive gimmicks designed to get you to spend your hard-earned money. While we’re not saying you have to completely cut out your favorite holiday items, we encourage you to consider how you could better spend or save that money– maybe another Christmas gift, gas to get home, or even a generous donation to your favorite charity.
 
Expert tip: Make the most of the holidays with a BHFCU VISA Rewards or Signature Rewards Card. Through December 31, earn double the points all your purchases.
 
Consider New, Cheaper Traditions
If you’re not careful, spending during the holidays can quickly spiral out of control. Embracing less expensive events and traditions can help you save money without sacrificing the festivities and memories. For larger families, consider using the “Secret Santa” method to help save money on gifts. We also recommend hosting a potluck with your family, instead of the usual holiday feast. Get the kids involved by having them plan fun games that the whole family will enjoy.
 
Here are some of our financial expert’s favorite and affordable traditions:
  • Tour the neighborhood light displays
  • Binge watch as many holiday movies as you can
  • Head out to your favorite hill for some sledding
  • Show off your creative side with some holiday arts and crafts
  • Gather around the fireplace and read your favorite holiday stories
  • Bake your favorite holiday treats with your family
  • Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or with a charity of your choice
Expert tip: Be sure to watch Groupon or LivingSocial, for great discounts on local holiday attractions.

Be Wary of Sales
What may look like a steal of a deal, may actually just be a clever holiday marketing trick. Always comparison shop before you make any major holiday purchases, especially big-ticket electronic items. If you find a better price elsewhere, ask if the store will price match. We like to use retailmenot.com and edealinfo.com when we comparison shop. Just be ready to walk away. Additionally, be sure to watch your local newspaper and monitor your favorite stores’ websites for coupons and special deals.
 
Expert tip: Save money on holiday gifts and use the points you’ve earned with your BHFCU VISA Rewards or Signature Rewards Card for gift cards, electronics, and more. Redeem your points in Online Banking or BHFCU’s top-rated Mobile App.
 
Start Early
Stretch your dollar even further by getting a jump start on next year’s holiday shopping. Of note, some of the best deals on holiday gifts and décor happen immediately following the festive season. We also recommend watching for deals and sales at your favorite stores throughout the year. Just don’t forget to plan and budget!
 
Expert tip: Start preparing for next year’s holiday season with BHFCU’s Money Management tool. With Money Management, you can set goals, manage budgets, categorize your spending, and more.

With a solid plan and some minor changes to your holiday routine, you and your wallet will have no problem making it through the holidays. For even more holiday saving and budgeting tips, be sure to stop by any BHFCU location to visit with one of our friendly, knowledgeable personal finance experts.