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Avoid the Stress of Holiday Finances

The holiday season is upon us which means holiday spending is looming if you haven’t started already. As exciting and joyful the holidays can be, it can also be a stressful time for families financially. It is no secret that prices have jumped in the last six months, so it is crucial that you start planning now.

To help avoid the stress the holidays can bring, follow these tips and tricks.

  • Be realistic. When holiday deals and sales deals start popping up all around, you can get wrapped up into daydreaming about gift giving. However, you need to be realistic about what you can spend. You also need to be realistic about who you are spending your holiday cash on. As nice as it would be to buy a gift for every person in your life, you need to be realistic about what you can afford and who that money will go to.
  • Monitor your account. When numerous transactions are happening at once, it is easy to not pay attention to where those charges are coming from. Make sure you are confirming each purchase is the correct amount and you are not being overcharged for items. Double check each credit card statement deliberately for any unauthorized purchases. It is smart to keep receipts for a few months after purchases are made to track payments and make returns. You can also keep receipts for next year’s holiday season to help you budget and better understand your spending habits.
  • Plan ahead. More often than not, you will spend way more money if you wait last minute to purchase gifts. Plan ahead on when you should start shopping and who you plan on getting a gift for. It is even smart to do some shopping throughout the year so you can avoid the increased prices around the holiday season. Follow trends on gifts you know you want to purchase and buy when it is cheapest. If you buy gifts gradually throughout the year, it will not be as overwhelming when the holidays roll around.
  • Create a budget and stick to it. This will help reduce impulse buys as you do your holiday shopping. If you are tracking your spending you will not be surprised how much you spend on not only gifts but travel and food as well. If you want to increase your budget for the holidays, look at cutting costs in the months before. The little expenses in the months prior to the holidays can make a big difference when it comes to creating a budget.
  • Shop around. It is easy to just purchase the item you are looking for right away without looking around. Make sure to shop around for the best deal to help your total spending for the holidays. You can often buy the same item from multiple retailers so make sure you double check all your options. Sales are happening daily so make sure you are shopping around for the best deal. Rather than limiting your shopping to big box stores, consider shopping local and supporting the small businesses in your community.

Remember that you are not alone when it comes to the pressure of the holidays. Reach out to your personal banker for questions on how to create an effective budget, monitor your West Bank account, and avoid a holiday headache.

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