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5 Tips to Prepare Your Wallet for the Holiday Season


5 Tips to Prepare Your Wallet for the Holiday Season

5 Tips to Prepare Your Wallet for the Holiday Season

Between attending parties, traveling to see family, and buying gifts for everyone on your list, everything during the holiday season can add up quickly (both financially and mentally) and easily become overwhelming. And, while October may feel too early to start thinking about holiday shopping, getting a jumpstart on it now can help reduce the amount of stress you may feel, and even save you a bit of time and money. In fact, nearly 40% of shoppers start buying holiday gifts in October. If you haven’t already started, this is the perfect month to begin planning and preparing to ensure that this holiday season is as stress-free as possible. Here are five tips to help you prepare your wallet this year!

  1. Review Last Year’s Budget

To get a better idea of what you can expect to spend on this year’s gifts, think back to last year— how many people were on your list, and how much did you spend per person? Don’t forget to take into account the gift wrapping supplies you purchased last year, the white elephant or Secret Santa gifts you may have bought, and any donations you made to local charities and organizations. Looking back at the previous year’s spend can help you establish this year’s budget, as well as determine any areas that you may be able to cut back on this year.

  1. Start Saving Now

If you haven’t been already, now is the time to start stashing away any extra money that isn’t needed for monthly living expenses or your regular contributions to your savings or retirement account. Finding money that’s already there is a quick and easy way to start. This entails cutting back on frivolous extras for a few months, like your daily morning latte or a gym membership you rarely use, and using that extra money to fund the upcoming holiday season instead.

  1. Make Decisions

Decide on several potential gifts for everyone on your list this month so that you can start researching prices early, giving you a clear idea of how much you can expect to spend. From there, you can narrow the list down and decide which gifts to buy for whom, based on what you can afford. For example, if gift idea #1 for your sister is a little out of your price range, but gift idea #2 isn’t, and it’s something she’ll love just as much as the first idea, plan on buying her gift idea #2 instead. Keep working your way down the list until you either hit your budget, or come in just below it.

  1. Start Buying Now

Preview this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals as soon as they’re available, and compare them to your gift list. If any of the items are going on sale soon, wait and purchase them then. If items on your list are not going to be marked down, go ahead and buy them as soon as possible to save yourself the stress and time of having to deal with the holiday crowds in November and December. And, always save your receipts in case something on your list happens to go on sale after you purchase it.

  1. Discuss New Traditions

If money is tighter this year than usual, or if you’re still feeling financially or mentally overwhelmed by the amount of food, gifts and supplies you’re expected to purchase, discuss starting new gift-giving traditions for 2020. Do you have a large extended family to buy for? Don’t break the bank by buying every member a gift. Instead, suggest a Secret Santa gift exchange between the adults, or suggest setting a price limit on gifts to help relieve any stress. Do you participate in a yearly gift exchange between your group of friends? Instead of buying a gift for every individual, again, suggest a Secret Santa or white elephant exchange. Everyone ends up with a gift, and no one is left with an empty wallet— a win-win situation for all!

In the end, the holiday season isn’t about how many gifts you can afford to buy for your friends and family. Focusing on spending time with loved ones and relaxing should take priority over how many hundreds of dollars you can splurge on everyone. Stay tuned for next month’s blog to learn more about smart shopping during the holiday sales, and Valley’s special holiday loans rate!

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