Have Yourself a Financially Smart Holiday
We’ve all been there at some point. You’ve got a long list of names to cross off and money to spend. Before you know it, January will arrive and your bank account will be severely depleted, unknown to you as you were caught up in the holiday cheer. So how can you do better this year and any following year? NorthEast is here to provide some tricks and tips! Consider it our holiday gift to you.
Create a Budget
Forget the gym, make a budget your New Year's Resolution! We know, we know. This is boring, but it doesn’t have to be! Start with your income then list down the necessary bills of the month. No matter how tempting that laptop on sale can be, remember you also need to have a livable home after the holidays. Make sure you list out the expenses you can’t forget. For example, traveling or the office’s White Elephant event. Set realistic goals and give yourself a reward if you’ve managed to stay on track with your budget.
Don’t feel like creating your own template budget? Here are some resources for you:
Rank your Giftees
No one has to know besides you that Aunt Mira is lower on the list than Uncle Mike. Tier the people you have to gift for by how special you want the gift to be. Let’s be honest, some people aren’t worth the $100 scarf you saw a celebrity wearing on Instagram. Group your immediate family together and your friends after that. Set a price limit for each tier or group and mark it down in your budget from earlier.
Get Crafty, Not Cranky
Some people are incredibly creative and can whip up a homemade gift in the blink of an eye. Some people can’t. So how can you create something without it looking like a Rorschach test? Don’t! Consider these alternatives: cooking, baking, giving your personal time, or offering to help around the house. Keep it simple because they tend to be the most meaningful and memorable gifts! According to Investopedia, “Give small gifts and large hugs.”
Dedicate one place to receipts and one to bills. Don’t hate yourself later when things are scattered around the house in more piles than necessary. While we do love a good filing system, in the hustle of holiday season it’s difficult to maintain. So head to your local dollar store and grab a box or container, then place them in an easy to access spot. This way when you’re running in and out of the house, you can drop receipts or bills inside!
Bring Only What You Need
It can be tempting to stuff your wallet or bag with multiple store credit cards if you’re braving the holiday shopping chaos. Not only does this risk a higher loss if your purse or wallet is stolen, but it risks you spending more than you really should. As nice as getting 10% off a basket full of warm socks can be, do you really need to buy all of them? Probably not. Keeping more money with you, physical or not, only encourages you into thinking you can spend it. Besides if you really need to buy those socks, the store will happily look up your account!
The Internet is Your Best Friend
Forget the real life one. When it comes to holiday deals, the internet is the place to go. Whether you’ll buy it online or not, see what savings are out there and where the best place to get what you need is. If you use Google Chrome, stop reading and go download the Honey extension. It will save your bank account, trust us. Also use a site like Wishlistr to create your lists and even be able to share them. Even going on Facebook can help you! Take advantage of their Recommendations tool and your connections can help you find the best price and value.
Start saving for next year’s holiday! You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t need to spend hours online searching for the cheapest version of a product! You know that tax return you get every year? Consider putting half of it away for some holiday cheer.
We hope these tips and tools will guide you into a calmer and financially sound holiday season! You can be the one bragging around the holiday party about how savvy you were with your holiday shopping this year!
Happy holidays from all of us here at NorthEast Insurance Services!