African American man smiling while holding Christmas gifts.

6 Tips for Smarter Holiday Spending

October 13, 2022 | Modified: August 28, 2023

Consumers are looking to spend less this holiday season by looking for deals early. As a result, retailers are launching sales much sooner than the traditional Black Friday sales. Many have already started. According to Bluedot’s Holiday Shopping Habits 2022 study, among the top concerns for holiday shoppers are price increases, inventory shortages, staffing shortages, and having less money.  The current economic environment has consumers looking for ways to save. Here are 6 Tips for smarter holiday spending.

1 Plan to shop early

With consumers searching for savings, retailers will try to lure consumers earlier with large promotions. Target launched its deal days, and the discounting will start early and continue throughout the holidays with retailers looking to get rid of excess merchandise. Planning early goes for holiday travel as well.

Many retail promos launched in early October. This includes Amazon’s “Prime Early Access Sale”, Target’s “Deal Days”, Walmart’s “Rollbacks and More”, and many others. Target is even extending its Holiday Price Match Guarantee until December 24th. Many shoppers are hoping to finish their gift-buying early this year with a focus on spending less to check items off their holiday lists.

2 Set a budget

Setting a specific budget for holiday shopping and sticking to that budget is an essential tip for smarter holiday spending. This may mean sticking to what you’ve saved for holiday spending or fitting your gift-buying into your current budget. To work within your budget, you may need to cut back on other expenses, or perhaps cut back on your gift purchases.

3 Track your holiday spending 

Creating a budget is a great place to start. Staying within that budget means tracking all of your expenses. A budgeting app can help. Mint is a free app that tracks your expenses and places them into budget categories. You set limits for your categories, and Mint will alert you when you are approaching those limits.

4 Be responsible with credit card use 

While credit cards can be a great way to take advantage of earning rewards for purchases, irresponsible use of credit cards can land you deep in debt. If you plan on using a credit card, look for a card with a competitive low-interest rate or a special low-rate balance transfer promo. Benchmark Federal Credit Union is currently offering a balance transfer VISA card with 0% APR* on purchases and balance transfers up to 12 months** and no annual fee. This card is a great way to borrow if needed without accumulating high-interest debt.

Again, while credit cards are a great way to earn rewards on purchases, they can be risky if you spend beyond your means. Use your credit cards wisely and pay the balances down quickly.

5 Avoid impulse buys

Creating and sticking to a holiday gift list is the best way to avoid impulse buys. If you are easily tempted, you may want to opt-out of emails and texts from retailers and stay away from social media. The goal of many retailer marketing efforts is to make you believe you will be missing out on a great, one-time deal if you don’t make a purchase. Don’t fall for it. Finally, shop alone. Shopping with friends may cause you to be influenced to spend on items you don’t need.

6 Beware of holiday shopping scams

The last of our tips for smarter holiday spending is the protect yourself from holiday shopping scams. First, keep your software updated. This includes your laptop, smartphone, and other devices. Be sure to update it before shopping online. Second, use only reputable sites for shopping. Third, avoid clicking on random social media ads, pop-ups, or email ads. Finally, be on the lookout for phishing attempts such as brand impersonators.

Helpful tips for smarter holiday spending

As you gear up for the gift-giving season, we hope you will learn from our tips for smarter holiday spending. In conclusion, remember to plan ahead and stick to your budget. Tap to learn more about the Benchmark FCU balance transfer VISA credit card. It’s the perfect addition to your holiday shopping arsenal.

Looking for more holiday tips? Read our blog “3 Tips to Pay Off Holiday Debt.”

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rate subject to change & based on an individual’s credit history. 0% Intro Rate is valid for purchases & balance transfer from other institutions for 365 days from card opening. The 0% rate will be in effect for up to 12 months from card opening & after 12 months the rate on all unpaid balances will convert to the rate member qualified for at card opening. 0% APR promotional rate is only valid on new VISA® Platinum Cards & subject to expire without prior notice.

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