The holiday shopping season is upon us but it’s important to keep your holiday shopping merry and your finances bright. With a little planning, you can be festive AND save money.
- Make a list (and check it twice). Avoid shopping without a list for what you want to purchase. If you wander around looking for ideas, you’ll find some great ideas that are probably outside your price range. Start with a plan and know what you are shopping for to avoid costly purchases.
- Make a budget. Once you have a gift list, research all the items on your list to find the best prices. Once you’ve done your research, you will know a good deal when you see it and know exactly where you want to shop. This will help you stay on track and on budget.
- Research online deals. Of course, start your search from the comfort of your couch and take a look at online websites and apps. That way you will know exactly where to go to get the best deal and save time in the process.
- Use your talents. Can you build, knit, paint, or make handcrafted jewelry? Use your talent to make a personal gift that will be appreciated for years to come.
- The latest isn’t always the greatest. Retailers are always offering deals on a previous version or model to clear shelf space for the newer models. Save money by purchasing the previous system or smart TV!
- Scale back the tree. Instead of buying a new tree every year, why not consider buying an artificial tree that can be used year after year? Or if a live tree is important to you, think about getting a smaller tree.
- Watch for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. The days around Thanksgiving are very popular shopping days and retailers usually offer deeper discounts. Keep an eye out for the items on your list to see if you can get a good deal.
- Plan ahead for 2019. Start thinking about gifts early in the year and buy them when you see them. This helps your budget by spreading your holiday expenses throughout the year. You can always hide the gifts in your closet or attic but keep a master gift list so you don’t forget what you purchased or where you hid the gift!
- Open a Christmas Club Account. With a Christmas Club Account, you can conveniently make deposits throughout the year to sock away funds just for holiday shopping. You’ll automatically receive a disbursement from your account just before the holidays, so you are ready to shop without running up your credit cards.
10 Holiday Shopping Safety Tips
The holiday season is a special time of year but the bad guys use the holiday season to look for easy targets. As you shop, please be mindful of the following safety tips to help keep your holiday shopping safe and joyous!
- Be aware of your surroundings, stay off of your cell phone and look for suspicious people or vehicles.
- Shop during the day when possible. Don’t shop alone after dark.
- Keep your wallet, purse, and bags close to you at all times.
- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or handbags.
- Lock your car doors and don’t leave valuables or packages in plain sight.
- Have your keys in hand and be ready to enter and exit your vehicle quickly.
- Shop online, if possible. Use a secure network connection and make sure your anti-virus software is up to date. Use familiar safe websites that display the padlock symbol or https://
- Consider having packages shipped to work if you will not be home to accept delivery.
- Save your receipts and compare to your checking or credit card statements to look for any discrepancies.
- Contact us immediately if you think you’ve been a victim of fraud.