The holidays are quickly approaching but before you go into panic mode, our friends at City of Boston Credit Union offer some helpful advice so you don’t break the bank this season!
Written by Coleman Nee
Prepare for unexpected expenses!
When planning your budget for Holiday spending it can be easy to get caught up and forget about all the unexpected costs that could come your way. You may not have planned too well for the additional heating costs, or repairs to your furnace, or the dreaded pipes bursting!! Also one should keep in mind any health-related costs that may arise with the cold weather moving in – extra doctor visits for the kids, flu medication, or slipping on ice are all realistic possibilities that can put a damper on that extra money you thought you had! Of course as is the same all year, be safe, but be prepared!
Look into cheap (or free!) ways to celebrate the holidays!
Some of the biggest days of spending as the holidays approach are not even towards gifts! Take into consideration all of the get-togethers with friends and family and you may realize you have been spending on multiple days or nights out, which can get quite pricey! Many communities offer cheap or free ways to celebrate the holidays, for example Boston has several free Tree-Lighting nights throughout the city, which can be a great way to meet up and feel festive for little to no cost on the evening! Head over to the city’s website to check out some of the offerings our city has.
Start preparing well in advance!
The very best way to get ahead in your savings plan for the holiday season is to, well, start way ahead! Try putting some money aside each week and watch how the extra money starts to pile up. One great way to do this is to put some money aside in a separate savings account, for example City of Boston Credit Union’s Wincentive Savings Program, which offers cash prizes based on the amount of money saved throughout the year! Many financial institutions offer Holiday Clubs or Holiday loans as well to either help you with your savings plan, or give you an extra boost at the holiday season if necessary. Head over to our website for more information on products City of Boston Credit Union has to offer, or check with your personal financial institution for more information!
Set a budget, and stick to it!
Another great way to make sure your holiday spending doesn’t get out of hand is to establish a firm budget, and stick to it! This can be accomplished in many ways, whether it be setting a number and following through on not passing it, or if you need a little extra control in your life – take out cash or buy a gift card so there is no way you can spend more than planned! This step is important all year, but when the holidays come around it can be easy to convince yourself “Oh it’s just $5 more than planned……” for the 10th time!
Pitch in on something for the whole family rather than buying individual gifts. The whole family loves skiing? Take a trip up north with the whole family for a weekend, it may be an expensive one-time price but that number may be lower than what you would have spent on gifts for the whole family, and it is one everyone can enjoy!
Gift something homemade! Are you big on arts-and-crafts? Do you have the best banana bread recipe in the family? Can you make a hockey net out of 2x4s? All these gifts could be a hit at a get-together, or just show a little extra thought in your present. A little extra love can go a long way during the holiday season, so give it a shot!
As always, City of Boston Credit Union wishes everyone well as we get into the thick of the holiday season! Be safe, be good to each other, and enjoy your time with your loved ones….and try not to break the bank!