Monday, October 30, 2017

Holiday Savings Blog

        Oh boy, our favorite and most stressful time of the year is here! With the holidays being right around the corner, the excitement starts to rise as well as the financial stress. Each year around the holidays we tend to start to questioning ourselves on why we didn’t start saving 6 months ago like we promised ourselves last year…and the year before. But good news, I have some tips that can still help you cut corners this year and start saving for next.
                Saving doesn’t always have to be so daunting. At first opening a savings account and putting a large chunk of money into it seems so accomplishing, but then we feel as if we have a void. We tell ourselves it’s okay if we take some back out, because we can just replace it next pay check… (we’ve all been there). BUT, instead of trying to jump and put all of your money into savings at once, what about breaking it down over the course of the year? Setting up an account specifically for holiday savings can help train your mind not to touch it, unless necessary. AMOCO FCU offers a holiday club account. I found that having an automatic withdrawal of a fixed amount every paycheck helps me save quicker. I don’t ever “see” that money in my checking account so I don’t miss it when it’s gone to my holiday savings account. It’s taken me awhile to figure it out, but has been so worth it! Before you know it, it starts to add up quick and anytime you want to add a little more to it, you can! If you start in January depositing $20 into this account every two weeks, you’ll have almost $500 by December 1. That’s pretty good start if you ask me. Just think of it as one less dinner out each pay check.
                If you’re already a member with AMOCO listen up! During the holidays we offer a ‘skip-a-pay” for your loans, which allows you to push your loan payments back for the month of December. If you didn’t get the opportunity to save like you needed to for the holidays or something unexpected came up, this could be a great option for you. As well as promotional loan options that can help with the extra costs of the holidays.
Some tips to save on holiday spending:

Take your time:
               A smart way to buy gifts is to put them on layaway. More stores than you think offer this smart option! You can start whenever you feel ready to make payments, which are offered up to 90 days. You can see exactly what you are purchasing and put it on a payment plan instead of purchasing it all at once and putting a bigger dent into your account. Stores like Wal- Mart and Toys-R-Us have this option. Knowing when you need to make payments and planning for those, helps with not overspending. This also helps with not becoming behind on other payments during the holidays. 

Santa’s List:
             Create a list of everyone you plan on buying a gift for and also include what gift you plan on giving them with the dollar amount next to it. Once you add up all of the amount you can create a budget for your gifts. Following that list will help you stay on track with what you are prepared to pay for. The major problems come when you go in to stores blindsided and spend more than what you were prepared for. Making a plan for holiday spending is much better financially. With making a budget and sticking to it, you wouldn’t be dealing with repercussions in the New Year, rather than if you put the entirety of your spending on credit cards. You can sleep easy knowing you don’t have any debt come January 1. Starting fresh sets you up for good spending and budgeting habits to come.  

Santa’s Helpers:
             There are so many great apps that are offered on our smart phones to keep track of our spending and what gifts we are buying. Santa’s Bag app is a really great option to use. Enter the names of the people you are buying gifts for and the budget for them as well. Just like the list we talked about before, but now in an app that can track how much you are spending. It’s really helpful to keep yourself in line with what you were planning on spending. This is just one example, there are plenty of apps out there that can help you budget this Christmas.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
          Shopping on Black Friday is an easy way to expand your dollar. Most stores announce what deals they will be offering days in advanced. Planning which stores you want to go to can help you navigate quickly and get to the best deals. Cyber Monday is also a great option for huge savings without ever leaving your house. Many places like Target, Amazon and Wal-Mart continue their deals through Monday. Also, check out our website at amocofcu.org to learn about our Black Friday deals!
                
          All in all saving money can be really hard, especially when we’re faced with the unexpected. The good thing is it’s never too late to start. Here at AMOCO, we offer many different options for saving. We’re here to help so the holidays can be stress free this year and help you focus on what matters the most. What are some of your favorite holiday savings tips and tricks? We’d love to hear about them. Visit us in one of our branches or open a new account online, we look forward to saving with you.

 AMOCO Federal Credit Union is a member-owned cooperative organization. AMOCO’s mission is: To Serve and Satisfy Our Members, and has done just that for more than 79 years. AMOCO strives to provide the best products and services available to its members by offering low loan rates and little to no fees. For more information, please contact Madison Biondo at mbiondo@amocofcu.org.


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