Last Christmas how much did you spend on gifts? Do you feel like matching that amount this year? Are we all just long-haul climbers walking up a forever mountain of pre-printed gift season price tags?
What if we showed you that the amount you spend on Christmas gifts has an offramp? That there is no need to pour a thousand hard-earned bucks into it just to stay afloat.
There are things you can do throughout the calendar to sharpen your monthly budget and give yourself a sizable cushion come next year’s holiday season for a bit of gift-giving bounty, and that DECU members already have more than a few of these secret saver arrows in their toolbox that we will tell you more about at the very end of this blog.
Holiday Spending and Savings
Let us begin by addressing some tips to control holiday spending. Let us begin with the self. To tame the impulsive ‘Why not?’ when that exquisite online bauble pops up and seems so appropriate for its potential to resolve today’s existential crisis that we immediately push BUY and then watch as the automated credit card verification wait screen takes over and makes it all permanent.
Whoosh. A new thing bought. Too much money paid. Rush delivery tomorrow.
First, We Unsubscribe from All the Emails (except ours 😉)
Why do you have so many subscribed email newsletters? Why do you keep getting more?
Studies show that consumers are more than happy to pay more money and make more purchases more often when their shopping originates within solicited emails from a chosen retailer. Solicited meaning wanted or otherwise tolerated. On average, happy email clickers are overspending by about 138% more than when buying the same originally intended items in a physical store.
But if you are a consumer and you are trying to save money, the fact that so many great deals are coming in all the time in all those subscribed emails can and eventually do begin to weigh heavily on your capacity to satisfy your budget constraints and stretch your family’s gift-giving desires.
You simply can not have everything. You need to tighten it up. A good start is to unsubscribe from some emails.
Open any one of your legitimate retailer emails and scroll down to the bottom of the text. You should see the phrase UNSUBSCRIBE HERE, sometimes in a different font, size or even text color, and by clicking you will often automatically take yourself off the subscriber list with no further action needed. But the upshot is that you will get yourself out of the danger zone when it comes to overspending on email shopping triggers.
Second, We Make Budget Friendly DIY Gifts
Now that we have successfully tamed the wild consumer self, we turn to the needs of others, and the subject of hand-made gift-giving comes up as a thrifty and rewarding way to express the broad and sympathetic love for humankind that fills our hearts and stockings with its winter holiday spirit.
This link to 101+ inexpensive handmade gift ideas is a terrific resource for original, outside-the-box thinking when it comes to presents for family, friends, and colleagues.
For instance, jars of homemade salsa, or painted wooden earrings. There are easy-to-follow instructions on how to sew a hand-made zippered clutch purse, how to ornament Christmas oven mittens, and how to build a wipe-off weekly menu board for the dining room.
Most ideas cost around $5 in materials, which is definitely low-cost and should fall within most budget allowances. But the emotion and heart that gets put into it is priceless, and that’s worth more than money.
All from the fine folks at IHeartNaptime.net
Third, When We Do Buy Things, We Buy Things With DECU Credit Cards
Use any one of our three DECU Credit Cards on your purchases through the end of the year to take advantage of our special 2.99% APR* credit card rate for the holidays. For more info on promotional guidelines see this link.
Right now until December 31, you can shop with your DECU credit card at local and online retailers for just about everything on your Christmas list, including everyday necessities like groceries, gas, food delivery and even dining out. Payless in interest and make your DECU membership work to your advantage.
If you don’t have a DECU credit card, then now is the time to apply, which you can do online right here.
Fourth, We Open a DECU Holiday Savings Account
Within DECU’s flexible digital banking app, members have the power in their hands to quickly and safely set up sub-accounts for extra holiday savings. With just a few clicks you can automate a regular paycheck deduction for whatever amount your budget allows and spend your precious mental energy tending to your list instead.
If you can squirrel away $5- $20 per paycheck for a year, which if you’re like most folks you might not even miss, then thanks to your DECU Mobile App for Android and iOS, by next Christmas you’ll have that magical Christmas money, and then some, to be able to spend on a mountain of gifts that your friends and family deserve.
Finally, We Shop Online
With technology today, it’s not only easier to find the perfect gift, but also probably cheaper. The extra cost for gas and meals during local shopping trips or journeys into other cities can all add up and take a chunk out of your budget. Not to mention time and focus.
If the ultimate goal of your holiday season is to make it through to January with your wits and your finances intact, then your surest solution for super simple shopping is to find stuff online for cheaper than it would be in the store.
We’ve written about this in great detail in years past at The DECU Daily, right here at How To Maximize Your Savings On Black Friday and also in our most popular blog post ever, last year’s 10 Tips To Win On Black Friday-Cyber Monday and so feel free to click either link for a lot more tips and hints, because shopping info is relevant and timeless.
But if time is short and you need a quick recap, here’s DECU’s Top-10 Online Shopping Tips for Thanksgiving Weekend list for your perusal and approval.
- Shop on Wednesday.
- Don’t even try to price match.
- Check the cost of shipping for purchases or returns.
- Price check in the store against your online app.
- Create a budget—and stick to it.
- Shop with a friend.
- Get social with retailers on Facebook and Instagram.
- Prioritize your shopping list.
- Do your homework and track prices with Black Friday websites.
- Sign up (temporarily) for solicited retailer emails.
Thanks for reading The DECU Daily, and Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at DECU.