Financially Preparing for the Holidays
Do you remember the days of cooler weather and holiday cheer? This time of year, those days can feel like a distant memory. Although we are in the midst of summertime heat, the holiday season is just around the corner. That being said, it is never too early to begin saving for your holiday expenditures. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you financially prepare for the holiday season.
The key to a successful holiday season is to begin saving as soon as possible. Make a list of everyone you plan to shop for, then set a price limit for each individual. This will help you gauge how much money you need to set aside in preparation for the holidays. When planning your holiday shopping list, don’t be afraid to eliminate purchases you think are unnecessary - such as a gift for a distant relative or acquaintance.
Check out this article by Penny Hoarder to lerarn a step-by-step process on how to save money for the holidays.
Saving money is easier said than done. In order to save money, you must actively reduce your spending habits. When setting financial goals, it is important to consider which purchases are needs and which ones are wants. That being said, limit unnecessary “want” expenses, such as impulse buys or restaurant purchases. Instead, use this money for holiday expenses. When it comes to short-term financial goals, such as holiday savings, frugality is your best friend.
Check out NerdWallet's budgeting tool to see how you can apply the 50/30/20 budgeting layout to your holiday savings plan.
Plan For Necessities
Despite your spending habits, there are essential purchases everyone must make, such as bills and groceries. That being said, it is important to plan for these purchases so that you do not fall behind on your holiday savings. Consider how much money you normally spend on required purchases, then, set that money aside, plus a little extra for unexpected costs. In addition to “fun” expenses, much of your remaining disposable income can be set aside and used for holiday purchases.
Make your budgeting easier with this FREE budgeting worksheet offered by Consumer.gov.
When saving for the holidays, it is important to shop early, as popular gift items may increase in price as the holiday season draws closer. That being said, purchasing an item early will not only ensure that you’re getting a fair price but may also prevent any unwanted sellouts. When shopping, it is also important to keep a lookout for holiday deals, which can help save you money. If applicable, don’t be afraid to use coupons to save even more on your holiday expenditures.
Check our this article by U.S. News that shows you the best days and deals to shop every month!
Shopping online makes it easier to stick to your intended holiday shopping list. According to a 2017 study, you are more likely to make impulse purchases in physical stores because of their atmosphere and product layout. In many instances, items can be found for a lower price online because of the sheer number of online retailers available. It is important to stick to websites you are familiar with, as not all online retailers are legitimate or safe. Additionally, it is important to protect your personal data online, especially your financial information. Always use websites with ‘https’ in their web address and never shop on unfamiliar websites.
While the holidays might not be on your mind right now, it is important to think ahead so that you can financially prepare for what's to come. The season of joy and cheer will be here before you know it, so be sure to take measures now to prevent yourself from experiencing holiday stress later. After all, you don’t want to come off as the Grinch!
Need help saving for the holidays? Visit the Gulf Winds’ Holiday Share Savings Account page to learn more.
Hunter has freelanced for various print publications across Northwest Florida, including The Bay Beacon, Navarre Press, Inweekly, and Crestview News Bulletin. He was also the Editor in Chief of the University of West Florida’s student newspaper, The Voyager. In 2022, he was named Best Radio News Reporter by the Southeastern Journalism Conference. Hunter earned his B.A. in Communication Arts/Journalism from the University of West Florida. For fun, Hunter enjoys traveling, visiting museums, photography, thrifting, spending time in the great outdoors, and looking for the best Thai food around.