With the Holiday Season around the corner, planning remains key to making sure you avoid any financial stress. It’s been an especially difficult year for everyone, dealing with the financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the impact that COVID-19 has had on production and shipping, now more than ever, consumers will need to prepare for the holidays in advance. DCBA’s Center for Financial Empowerment is here to share some tips for a smooth holiday shopping season.
Set a Budget
Prioritize how you’ll spend your money. Need extra cash this Holiday season? Make sure to file your taxes or complete the non-filer tool by November 15 to claim the Child Tax Credit. Set a specific amount you feel comfortable spending on everything you need for your holiday celebrations, from gifts to food and even charity donations. You can use a budget worksheet or try one of these budgeting apps to help you track your spending.
Once you’ve set a budget, you can:
- Plan out your spending ahead of time by making lists for things like food, decorations, and gifts so you only purchase what you need – make sure to buy it when you see it because items may sell out quickly!
- Shop around – try a discount store or do some research before purchasing items online
- Shop strategically – make sure to shop early since stores will have good deals leading up to the holidays and may offer extra discounts or gift cards for future use if you buy specific items – keep in mind shipping deadlines are much earlier this year if you want to receive your gifts on time for the holidays!
- Team up with family members and friends – you can pitch in for gifts, play a gift game like secret Santa or white elephant, have a holiday potluck, volunteer together if you’re unable to donate cash or gifts to charities this year
- Reuse decorations – save and reuse any items you can like decorations and avoid single-use items when possible – save yourself some money while saving the environment!
Our Center for Financial Empowerment is here to help you year-round. Check out their general tips below to make sure you keep financially fit in the new year.
General Tips for Financial Success
Get a free bank account
Have you been avoiding opening a bank account because of the fees? There are low or no-cost options out there that are safe and will help you reach your financial goals. Learn more about BankOn.
Set SMART financial goals
Do you have trouble sticking to your financial goals? Increase your chances of success by making sure your goals are SMART! Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Start an emergency fund
You can’t anticipate flat tires, injuries, or disasters, but you can be prepared in order to avoid taking a devastating financial hit. Setting aside ‘rainy day’ money can be a part of your budget. You’d be surprised how setting aside anywhere from $50-$200 a month can add up.