The holidays are right around the corner, and that means your budget might be strained or even put on the back burner. It's easy to be caught up in marketing gimmicks and the allure of holiday shopping. Here are a few tips for enjoying the gift-giving season without going completely off the financial rails.
Shop Throughout the Year
Consider looking for thoughtful gifts for specific people throughout the year and set them aside. By the time the holiday season rolls around, you would simply need to purchase last-minute odds and ends to round out your holiday.
Look for deals throughout the year and consider layaway or pay-off programs. Holiday prices are often inflated, so taking advantage of deals ealier could make your money go further.
Create a Budget and Plan Ahead
When the holidays arrive, be sure to review your financial situation and set a budget. It might also be helpful to open a Special Purpose Savings Account solely for holiday spending.
Plan who you need to buy gifts for and reevaluate the people on your list. There are some years we may not be able to purchase gifts for everyone on our list, and that's ok. Consider non-monetary presents such as baked or hand-made goods, re-gifting something, or even giving a group/family gift when appropriate. Be sure to track all holiday expenses.
Keep Up on Bills
It may be tempting to free up some extra cash by skipping certain bills. This could severely hurt your credit, causing financial problems in the new year with added stress. Pioneer offers a Skip-a-Pay* program which allows members to skip a loan payment once per year for a small fee, but no penalty to their credit score.
Use Cash or Debit Card Payment Methods
Cash and debit cards use money you already have rather than a credit you'll have to pay back (likely with interest) in the new year. It may also act as a natural spending control system as you're more aware of the actual cash you have available versus credit card balances.
Use Your Rewards!
Did you know that when you use your Pioneer VISA credit or debit card, you rack up points for free stuff? Check out our Rewards! page and get all the details. You may have enough points to get yourself something nice, too!
Here's to a successful and bright holiday season!