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Money Matters Blog

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keep Your Holiday Spending in Check

The holiday season can be associated with stress instead of being joyous and thankful. Most of this anxiety comes from budgeting money and time for all of the various celebrations. During the most wonderful time of year, it’s important not to let the stress of budgeting and scheduling take over the true meaning of the season.

Community Financial wants to help you bring back the magic of the season by offering tips on how to budget and plan ahead for the holidays. We’re here to help keep your celebrations merry and your finances jolly and bright.

Make an attainable budget for the season. The National Retail Federation estimates the average American will spend $700 on gifts this year. Our financial experts recommend putting no more than 1.5% of your annual income in your holiday budget. This should include gifts, food and hidden expenses like wrapping paper, cards and shipping costs. If holiday travel expenses are not in your annual budget, add them to your holiday budget to make sure they aren’t overlooked.

Complete a holiday shopping list
. Once you have your holiday budget established, create a list of everyone you’d like to buy a gift for. Be sure to include hostess gifts for parties, too. Refer to your list often to keep from forgetting a gift for an occasion. If you are a frequent party-goer during the holiday season, it might be a good idea to buy a few items that could easily be gifted at the last minute.

Shop around before buying. The feeling you get after seeing an item you just paid full price for is now half off is the worst. Avoid it by doing your homework and shopping around early to scope out deals. If you’re a Black Friday shopper, develop a strategy for the day instead of just winging it.

Let Community Financial help. Just in time for the shopping season, our special holiday loans are back again. With rates as low as 4.99% APR, a holiday loan will help you get the funds you need to make shopping easier. You could also use our VISA Platinum card to receive two times the points during the holiday shopping months. With the added shopping expenses during this time of year, these rewards will add up quickly!

Create a payoff plan. Here’s where you can really take the stress out of the holidays. If you establish a plan on how to pay off all of your holiday expenses, you’ll enjoy the festivities much more. It’s important to set a payoff plan that you’re comfortable with and that fits within your current budget.

Use these tips this upcoming gifting season for stress-free budgeting and buying! Community Financial wishes you and your loved ones a very merry holiday season.

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