Holiday Spending Guide

October 19, 2018 | Steve Hasbrooke

Holiday spending can be hard to keep in check, and holiday budgeting can be intimidating when you’re not sure how to budget properly. Start early and let Mission Federal Credit Union help you make a budget you can follow so your holiday shopping is stress-free!

How to make a holiday budget

First, think about all the things you usually spend money on. Gifts are probably the number one line item, but you should also consider holiday meals, décor, travel costs, entertainment and more. When the kids are out of school and you’re spending extra time with loved ones, there may be extra expenses you should plan for. Consider gifts for teachers, colleagues or neighbors, and think about faraway loved ones so you can budget for shipping costs, too. Look at past spending if you can, then make a list or spreadsheet and estimate what you think you can afford to spend in each category. Add it all up, and you’ll know what you need to budget for this year!

How to save money during the holidays

It’s generally advisable to spend no more than 1.5 percent of your annual gross income for the holidays. That said, if you can save up, it’s okay to budget for a little more. Your budget shouldn’t create more stress—it’s there to help you save and spend smart. If you end up going a little over, don’t worry. You can make up for it after the holidays are over. Here’s how to get a good start on your savings.

  1. Start early
    To help you save as much money as possible, try putting money away starting in early autumn. You’ll have time to build up savings, and you can take advantage of earned dividends on a Savings Account. Setting up a credit union Savings, like our Mission Fed Holiday Saver Savings Account, specifically for your holiday savings helps you earn a higher rate and it’s easier to keep track of your savings without accidentally dipping into it.

    It’s also helpful to book travel plans as early as possible to help you keep track of special travel deals as they come up. You could even use saved Mission Rewards points from your Mission Fed Credit Card to help pay for airfare or hotel rooms.

  2. Cut down on spending
    There’s a lot you can do to save a little money each day, and all those dollars and cents really add up! Start by making coffee at home rather than buying pricey espresso drinks, and bring lunch to work so you’re not tempted to eat out. Opt to have friends over rather than meeting them out and find budget-friendly meals to make at home in the months leading up to the holidays. It might seem small, but changing your spending habits could produce big savings.
  3. Make it personal instead of pricey
    We often want to buy big, impressive gifts for the people we love during the holidays, but thoughtful gifts often mean more than expensive ones. Find a favorite picture of you and your loved one and frame it. Use your talents to think up a homemade gift—get in the kitchen or use your workbench and make something with your own hands. Or, if you are going to buy a gift, keep an eye out for sales and specials to get the right gift at the right price.

Prepare for your holiday spending in advance to help make the holiday season even more enjoyable. Avoid holiday spending stress by planning ahead, making a budget and spending smart. Mission Fed is honored to help you have a joyful holiday season with the people you love.

The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. Mission Federal Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided. References to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name in this article by Mission Federal Credit Union is for the information and convenience of its readers and does not constitute endorsement, control or warranty by Mission Federal Credit Union.

Steve Hasbrooke

Steve Hasbrooke

Steve Hasbrooke is VP Controller at Mission Federal Credit Union. He has been with Mission Fed for over 12 years, and his primary responsibilities include regulatory reporting, annual financial reporting and accounting oversight.

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