Sticking to a budget is not the shiniest object in the room, there isn't any buzz about it, everyone seems to know about it, but far fewer people actually do it. Using a budget for the holidays should involve planning for travel, eating out, and saying "No" to unnecessary, luxury items. We suggest brainstorming for gifts a few months in advance, so you have time to find gifts that are affordably priced. Make room for them in your budget, and think of things you can do to make the gifts more personal, while keeping to a budget, like manual gift personalization, or signed photos for close family, friends, and business associates. Also, stock up on stamps for your holiday cards.
This is all worth it, because according to Holiday Travel Report research, just shy of 1 in 10 Americans who use credit cards for holiday expenses, still pays for them by the time next holiday season comes around - not a good cycle to be in.
Knowledge of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are commonplace, but there are tons of similar deals that don't get anywhere near the publicity that these major events get. In fact, consignment, consumer-driven retailers like Ebay, Etsy, and others have steadily been a growing sector of retail that has expanded to become more attractive for US consumers. This trend is particularly obvious when looking at the size of the consignment market now compared to just 10 years ago, particularly when combining this trend with the steady move towards online ecommerce, driven primarily by Amazon.
The healthy competition that online retailers and consignment retail brings to consumers helps with your bottom line, if you're willing to spend a little time doing due diligence. In fact, the savings can be quite shocking, especially when you shop during off-peak seasons.
Use My Finance in Online and Mobile Banking to set a budget and spending alerts to better keep your Holiday spending on track this year.