LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 10, 2018) —It's the most wonderful time of the year and unfortunately, the most expensive. Andrew Espelage, coordinator of the University of Kentucky Student Financial Wellness Center, says planning ahead and budgeting are just two of the many things that you can do to reduce stress triggered by finances during the holidays.
According to the 2018 Bankrate Holiday Gifting Survey, more than two in five holiday shoppers feel pressured to reach deeper into their wallets than they are comfortable with while holiday shopping.
With billions of dollars invested into marketing campaigns targeting consumers, pushing them to spend money, it is all too easy to get caught in the holiday spending cycle, but it doesn't have to take a lot of money to make your holidays memorable and enjoyable.Espelage encourages shoppers to follow the nine tips below, saving shoppers from the nightmare after Christmas — December bank statements.
- Budget. Holiday costs don’t stop at gifts. When creating your budget, make sure to include extra holiday items, like wrapping paper, holiday parties, decorations, winter activities and other miscellaneous expenses.
- Track your spending. Your budget does no good if you don’t effectively track your spending. Creating a holiday fund in a dedicated bank account is a great way to separate holiday spending from regular, day-to-day expenses.
- Plan ahead. Last minute shopping usually gets shoppers into trouble. Planning ahead allows holiday shoppers to look for the best deals.
- Make a list and check it twice. Try to cut back on the extras. Once you have gotten everything on your lists, know when to stop.
- Utilize cash. That way, if you take out a set amount from the ATM, you'll only use that. You’ll quickly get an idea of what kinds of things you may be overspending on.
- Online shop. Online shops like Amazon often offer additional discounts for students, teachers or military, which holiday shoppers should always utilize. Online shopping also allows consumers to stay focused on exactly what they are looking for. Last-minute trinkets by the register always look so enticing but can quickly set you over your budget.
- Get creative, do it yourself. You don’t need a lot of money to give a great gift. Gifts that are made yourself can sometimes be the most sentimental. This tip should also be kept in mind when planning for holiday decorations.
- Download the iGrad app. A best-in-class online resource offered by the University of Kentucky enables users to improve their money management skills.
- Remember the reason for the season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, keeping the holiday’s intended message at the forefront is a good antidote to the holiday 'gimmies.' Rather than spending money shopping, do something at home with the family.