Holiday Saving Blog
December is here and with that comes the excitement of gift giving, holiday parties, and decorations. It’s also a time when many of us feel financially stressed to make holiday wishes come true. If you fall into the financially stressed category you may be feeling frustrated for not saving for this moment like you promised yourself last year… and the year before. But don’t stress! I have some tips to help you get through the holidays.
Paying for it all
You have less than 22 days to get all of your shopping done. If you haven’t saved for the occasion, you may be doing what many of us do, paying by credit card. If you’re being charged a high interest rate for purchases you make, you may want to apply for a low rate credit card from AMOCO. The card offers a low introductory rate and you never have to worry about paying an annual fee or over limit fees. If you’re worried about not getting an AMOCO credit card fast enough, go ahead and apply. Once the card arrives in your mailbox, transfer your high rate credit card balances over to your new AMOCO credit card. There is no fee for balance transfers and it’s easy to make payments online or at any AMOCO branch.
If credit cards aren’t your thing, that’s okay. AMOCO also offers holiday loans up to $1,500. Once approved, the amount you borrow can be deposited to your AMOCO checking account so that you can get all of your shopping done by paying with cash or your AMOCO Debit Card. Holiday loans have a fixed interest rate and can be repaid over a period of 15 months.
Another way to get some quick cash is to apply for a holiday skip a pay. For example, if you have an auto loan financed at AMOCO, you can apply to skip your December or January loan payment. By doing this, you can free up some extra cash to pay for holiday gifts.
Now that we covered three easy ways to pay for holiday expenses, let’s talk about a holiday savings account. I know the last thing you’re worried about right now is saving for next year, but if you don’t take action now, you’ll be in the same predicament next year. This doesn’t have to be a daunting experience! In fact, it’s easy and simple to do, because you can open a Holiday Savings account online right now. Best of all, you don’t need to make a HUGE deposit to get started. All you need is $5.00 to open the account. Once the account is opened, arrange to have a small amount of your paycheck deposited into this account each month. You can easily save $1,000 by next December if you deposit $83 a month to the account. The best part is that you can choose to save less or more according to your personal budget.
Your Spending Plan
The biggest mistake anyone can make is not having a spending plan. Before you head to the store, create a list of everyone you plan on buying a gift for and how much you can afford to spend for each person. Don’t forget to add in costs for gift-wrapping or gift bags. For example, if you can only afford to spend $500 on gifts for 12 family members and close friends, your spending budget for each person would be approximately $40. Knowing what you can spend before you head the store, will make gift selection much easier. But, don’t forget to track your spending. Each time you buy a gift write it down along with the amount you spent. If you don’t want to hassle with pen and paper, download a free app to track your spending on your smart phone. Santa’s Bag app is a really great option to use. The app lets you enter the names of the people you are buying gifts for and your budget for each person. You can also add gift ideas and later mark them as: need to buy, purchased, wrapped, or given. It’s really helpful and easy to use.
Creative Ways to Save
A little creativity and energy can get you through the holidays without draining your wallet. Here’s how:
· Make your own gifts. You don’t have to be an experienced crafter to make something special. You can bake something sweet and attached a few of your favorite recipes or you can decorate a frame and insert a memorable photo.
· Gift wrap doesn’t’ have to be fancy! Look around your house to see what you can use. Newspaper, brown supermarket bags, and colored paper are great alternatives!
· Hang up homemade decorations. Use household items like popcorn to make garland to hang around your tree or around your house. Visit resale shops to find inexpensive items you can repurpose to create the perfect festive look.
· White elephant- Instead of having to buy gifts for each family member, do a white elephant gift exchange. Each family member pull a name out of a hat, and that’s who you get a gift for. It saves a lot of money and each family member still receives a gift!
Finding Great Deals
· Keep an eye on sales! Visit department store websites to see what special deals are being offered. Many stores will even show you if the item is in stock.
· Consider shopping online. Many online stores offer deeper discounts plus free shipping. By shopping online you can also reduce the temptation of buying something you don’t need.
· Shop local. Small businesses are hidden treasures among our communities. Many boutiques and small shops have unique gifts at affordable prices.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.