Ask the Experts: Realistic Holiday Savings Tips

Expert Holiday Savings Tips

Photo credit: Shutterstock


The most wonderful time of the year is right around the corner! The holidays are a magical time, full of indulging in comfort foods, warming beverages, time with family and friends, and gift-giving. It’s easy to go overboard during the holidays, but with a little bit of planning and some holiday savings tips, it’s possible to get your spending under control and put the focus on what matters most—family, friends, and fun. 


Create a List and Set Spending Limits

In 2020, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average consumer planned to spend $998 on average for holiday gifts and other items. Another 2020 survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs found that 50% of Americans think spending money on holiday gifts is the most financially stressful time of the year. Give yourself and your credit card a break this year, and start budgeting for the holidays by setting a spending limit. Budgeting can help control your holiday spending. Create a spreadsheet or list where you can outline gift recipients and the estimated budget per person. Next, add up your expected holiday travel or hosting expenses and money needed for decorations, gift wrapping material, and anything else you might need. This helps create a realistic budget, so when you’re ready to shop, you can stick to it without caving.      

Utilize Coupons and Shop Sales

Creating a list ahead of time means you can shop sales, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can also utilize coupon codes for big-ticket items online, as well as various coupons you received through flyers in your mailbox. Another great holiday savings tip is using shopping comparison apps, like Amazon Price Check or Google Shopper, to find the best deals before you swipe your credit card.     

Give DIY Gifts

A DIY gift is worth more than any expensive gift, and it’s much more personal than something from a store shelf. DIY gift ideas include edible gifts, like homemade cookies, bath and beauty products made by you, or the gift of your time for family and friends. 


Look for Travel Deals

If you’re planning to travel this season, like millions of other Americans, budgeting for the holidays can prove to be tricky. If driving isn’t an option, try these tips to reduce airfare costs:


  • Book Early – Booking in the fall instead of waiting until after Thanksgiving will help you find more affordable fares. AAA reveals the best time to book a holiday flight is between September 25 – October 27.    
  • Be Flexible – If you can travel on multiple dates or can fly into a smaller airport, take advantage of these tactics, which can help save some money. 
  • Find Discounts – Book your flight with a cashback card or cash in frequent flyer miles to get the best rates. 


Stick to Your Budget 

Sticking to your budget can minimize the use of personal loans, store credit cards, and installment loans, which can get you into debt and create poor spending habits. While it’s much easier to create a budget than stick to it, adopting this habit year after year can help alleviate some of your moments of overspending in the future. 


We recognize following a holiday budget can be difficult, but being financially prepared for the upcoming holiday season can help you avoid year-round debt. If you’re looking for a credit union in Delaware County that helps you save, consider joining BHCU and opening up a credit union savings account to support your long-term savings goals on your path towards financial independence. Contact us today to learn more.