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Article 3 MIN READ

Get Your Money in Holiday Mode

While the season is an opportunity to focus on the things that matter most in life, exchanging gifts is a long-standing tradition and a way to share joy with loved ones. Gift-giving is likely to be even more amped up this year, which might bring upon financial strain.

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About 40% of holiday shoppers said inflation is changing the way they shop, with most trying money-saving strategies, according to a recent Bankrate.com report. Pair this with many consumers’ need to ‘make the holiday special,’ these pressures could put a dent in holiday budgets.

People are successful when they set a realistic budget for spending. Focusing on non-traditional gifts, the joy of experiences and the resulting memories, can be just as rewarding without damaging your finances, especially as prices on essentials are rising.”

To make your money go into holiday mode, consider rethinking your holiday plan, setting a budget and sticking with it. GreenPath has some advice for maximizing the joy, while maintaining a healthy overall financial picture.

Simplify the Season

For less financial stress, consider simplifying celebrations and entertaining. Resist the urge to splurge on decorating and large parties and instead choose to gather with family and friends without breaking your budget. As gas and grocery prices are expected to increase, rethink the elaborate (and costly) holiday dinner and invite your loved ones to ‘meet in the middle’ for a more informal get-together. In lieu of hard-to-get items, gift an experience, a family portrait or an online class. Kennebunk Savings offers savings plans for children, teens, and young adults, a gift that gives long-term.

Set Expectations

Year after year, studies show that families with children are more likely to take on debt and go all in on gift spending across the board. With some planning, families can successfully navigate the holidays by having conversations about gift limits so expectations are clear. And the kids might be better off in the long run without more “stuff”! A recent survey shows that small children thrive in environments with fewer toys, and that a play area with only a few favorite toys leads to higher quality of play.

Volunteer in Someone’s Name

Celebrate those you love by giving back. Volunteer at a friend or loved one’s favorite charity or provide a contribution on their behalf. Volunteer in their name to honor them and provide a gift to both the organization and the individual. Gift some elbow grease at a local Meals-on-Wheels, community center, humane society, or nonprofit organization that could use your help.

Create a Holiday Spending Plan

Write down a holiday budget that includes all planned spending – food, décor, travel, gifts, etc. This can help you see how much income you’ll need, set spend limits, and relieve uncertainty and financial stress. A simple budget can help you figure out how to meet both your short and long-term financial goals – especially during the holidays. The plan can help you get an idea of what you have to work with in terms of income, what your commitments are, and what you have remaining to devote to your goals. Remember, nothing is set in stone, especially during a busy holiday season, so if something comes up just review your holiday spending plan and adjust to trim expenses or direct money toward something different.

Shop Smart

There is time this season to monitor sales for the best deals. Should you use credit this holiday season, look for zero or low-interest payment options. If shopping online, in-store pickup may cut down on shipping costs. Look out for holiday shopping scams and leverage fraud protection via PayPal and credit cards. By “abandoning” your online shopping cart for 24-72 hours, the retailer may grant you a discount or perk through email or other online notifications.

Get a Handle on Existing Debt

Existing debt can be especially stressful to a household’s overall financial picture during the holidays. Some tips to reduce the stress of debt include knowing how much you owe. Before the holiday events kick in, write down the total amount of all your debts, monthly payments, interest rates and due dates. Limit credit card use as part of holiday spending as much as possible.

Let’s Connect

Through our partnership with the national nonprofit GreenPath Financial Wellness, financial wellness experts are ready to start a conversation about your specific situation and explore options to help you manage holiday finances this upcoming season.

 

This article is shared by our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness, a trusted national non-profit.

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