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9 Holiday Budgeting Tips to Avoid Overspending This Year

Santa Claus style piggy bank with a mini shopping cart filled with gifts

With all the excitement of the holiday season, it’s tempting to overspend on fun activities and gifts for all your friends and family. According to consumer spending reports, 70% of Americans admit to spending more than their planned holiday budget.

As you prepare for the holidays in West Virginia this year, here are a few holiday money savings tips that can help you stay within budget and prevent overspending in 2023.

1. Estimate Your Expenses

Before you get started on decorating and shopping for gifts, it’s time to think about how to budget for the holidays. Determine how much money you’d like to spend this season and make a list of who you need to buy for, and what dollar amount you’d ideally like to spend per person.

If you’re hosting for the holidays this year, make sure to include grocery expenses as well as gifts and decor. You may also want to include festive outfits in your budget too if you want to get a new wardrobe to impress your friends and family.

This is one of the best 2023 holiday budgeting tips you can follow to stop yourself from overspending. Estimating with lists helps you prioritize what you actually want and need, rather than being tempted by all the offers available in the stores or online.

2. Shop for Deals

It’s inevitable that you’re going to be spending more than your average month during the holiday season. But take advantage of deals and special offers wherever you can. Days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the perfect opportunity to get some great prices on items you were thinking of buying anyway.

Follow the stores that you shop at most frequently on social media to see when they have sales coming up, especially those that might only run for a single day. If you’re on a tight budget, look at off-price retailers like Marshalls, Home Goods, or Gabe’s in Morgantown.

3. Reduce Extraneous Spending

The average American spends around $18,000 every year on nonessential expenses. If you want to save some of your hard-earned cash to spend a little more over the holiday season, see where you can cut back throughout the rest of the year.

4. Trim Your Gift List with Secret Santa

Organizing a white elephant or secret Santa gift exchange with family or friends is a great idea to keep your gift shopping on a small budget.

Instead of buying something for everyone, each person randomly selects another person in the group to purchase for. Everyone still gets a gift each, but no one is having to buy multiple gifts to give to several different people.

5. Shop Early

If you have a difficult time budgeting for the holidays, one of the best holiday shopping budget tips to follow is starting your preparation early. Consider to start your shopping in the late summer or early fall so you’re not walking around stores during peak holiday months where you can be tempted to overspend.

If you find the perfect gift for someone, there’s no reason not to buy it several months ahead of time and wait until the holidays to give it to them! Buying early can significantly lessen the burden on your wallet from November to January and spread those holiday costs throughout the whole year instead.

Shop with rewards

6. Take Advantage of Rewards

If you have a reward card or are part of a loyalty program for a particular store, now is the time to cash in on some of those points or coupons you’ve stored up over the year. You’ll feel like you’re getting more for your money, and, in many cases, you can get significantly more!

You can also use your debit card or credit card rewards to make your holiday budget go even further. With firstCashback Rewards and your First Exchange Bank debit card, you can turn your ever day purchases into cashback and gift cards. The Visa Rewards Platinum credit card from First Exchange Bank offers you rewards for merchandise and travel, which can really come in handy during the holiday season. So, make sure you’re using the right card to maximize the benefits this year.

Track your spending with your mobile banking app

7. Track Your Spending

With so much to keep track of during the holidays, overspending can happen very easily if you’re not watching your budget carefully.

Mobile banking apps are a great way to watch your card usage and you can even set up alerts or notifications if you spend over a set limit. Not only is this helpful for budgeting, but with fraud attempts increasing over the holiday season, you can rest assured that your money is safe.

Tracking is also useful for helping you plan for the 2024 holidays. Make sure to include both purchases and holiday activity costs in your tracking to make sure you’re staying within your allocated budget. If you find yourself approaching your financial limits, tracking can help you re-prioritize and adjust spending as necessary.

8. Open a Christmas Club Account

Planning ahead is the best way to save money for the holidays. While it may be too late to open a dedicated holiday saving fund for this year, it’s still worth considering starting a new account like a Christmas Club account for next year’s holiday season.

Christmas Club savings accounts are a special type of savings account that let you deposit all year and earn interest. They then pay out in a lump sum check around the end of October, giving you money to spend on holiday gifts and activities.

You don’t have to use this money just for Christmas, but they’re a helpful way to save all year and get your money paid out just in time for the holidays. The best way to take advantage of this type of account is to make regular deposits for the first 9 or 10 months of the year and then watch your money grow.

Most accounts like this only require a $10 minimum to open them, so these can be a good solution for saving. Read more about the benefits of a Christmas Club account.

Take advantage of free Holiday events

9. Take Part in Free Holiday Fun

There are plenty of fun, and free, activities to do throughout West Virginia during the holiday season. A few to put on your calendar that are great for the whole family are:

Get Help Budgeting for the Holidays with First Exchange Bank

If you’re starting to make plans for either this year or next year’s holiday season, stop into your local First Exchange Bank and talk to one of our team about the products and service that First Exchange Bank has that can help with your holiday planning!


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