Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday.

That screaming you hear may just be coming from your wallet after what is traditionally the biggest shopping period of the year. While it certainly does make you feel good to get the perfect gifts for those you love during the holidays, it’s important that you manage your debt this time of year so that you don’t experience the post-holiday shopping blues.

For those of us that still have gifts to purchase, it’s not too late to come up with a plan to avoid racking up enormous debt during this time of year.  Here are some great tips to help you make this holiday season one to remember:

  • Create a budget:  Before hitting the road (or going online), take a look at your savings and figure out what you’d like to spend on those special people in your life.  While it may be difficult, it’s critical that you stay within your budget.
  • Save money with a gift exchange:  Whether you come from a larger family or have a number of friends that you usually feel obligated to buy for, a gift exchange may a good way to save some money.  This is a great way to focus your spending on one person out of the group, instead of buying smaller gifts for each member of your family or group of friends.*
  • Shop with cash:  If you’re afraid that having your credit cards available will entice you to go over that all-important budget we talked about earlier, you may want to consider shopping with cash and leave your credit card(s) at home!  “Not only that, but each time you head out to a given store, take only enough money with you to cover the items you’re planning on buying.  After all, you can’t overspend if you don’t have a way of paying for extras.”**
  • Pace yourself:  If you’re a last-minute shopper, there’s a chance you may over-extend your shopping budget during that sale-hopping frenzy period.  Try something different this year – do a little bit of shopping each week as we get closer to the holidays.  This more methodical approach can help you stick to your budget and not experience any of the anxiety that comes with last-minute shopping.

We hope that these tips can help you get through the holidays without a mountain of debt and the anxiety that comes with it.  A “quiet” wallet sure would be a great thing to have as you start the New Year, right? 

*Jian Lee, Deborah.  2014, November 26.

**Backman, Maurie.  2018, November 18.  The Motley

Patrick Hickey

Marketing and Communications Coordinator