Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la.
We know that our Verve family of 66,000+ members has a diverse way of celebrating the holidays. We also know that, for some, giving gifts is a way of showing your love. While this year’s celebrations will look different than any year before, that doesn’t mean gifts are canceled! Whether you were hit hard financially by COVID-19, or you want to avoid going into debt on gifts, this blog post is filled with tips for managing your finances during the holiday season.
Tips for gifting without going broke:
- Do your homework. This may sound like a bit of a holiday shopping buzzkill, but you’ll thank us later! Before you dive into shopping, no matter how tempting those Black-Friday-all-month-long emails look, review your finances. You can do a full budget review, or take a quick glance at your current checking and savings balances, with a look ahead for what bills are coming your way. Once you have reviewed your upcoming bills against your account balances and planned income, set a holiday shopping budget to stick to.
- Make a list and check it twice. Just like Santa, write each gift recipient’s name on a list and make sure you’ve covered all your bases. Once you have a list, you can check it against your budget and plan for how much you will spend for each person. Make sure to write that amount down next to each person’s name. Next, think about each person on the list and start writing a few gift ideas down for each person. Some questions to ask to get you started include: does it fill a need, is there an experience you can gift them [link to November Family Finances blog post] and is it something they can use again and again? Then you can start researching the costs of those ideas.
- Check with your friends and family to set expectations. If you looked at your list and it’s a lot longer than you anticipated (cue the nervous, “how am I going to pay for this?” worrying), take a deep breath and a step back. Consider exchanging names with your family or group of friends and setting a price limit. It’ll help cut back on the pressure to find the perfect gift for everyone and reduce the strain on your wallet.
- Ready, set, shop! Now that you’ve made a list and done your research, it’s time to shop! Search for deals online using Flipp, retailer websites or com, and plan your purchases for when the items on your list are on sale. Make sure to stick to your list, or if you find a different item you think will be perfect for your loved one, make sure it aligns with the per-person budget you’ve set. Note: If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you see coupons or giveaways on social media, double-check the retailer’s website to verify it’s the real deal before submitting your information and NEVER pay to claim your prize.
- Plan for next year. We’re all for holiday seasons filled with energy and enthusiasm (and to answer your burning question: no, it is never too early to put up your decorations!), so go ahead and start planning for next year. We’re big fans of creating a separate Pick Your Payout savings account (nickname it Holiday Savings, Gifts Galore, or whatever will keep you motivated). This will let you set aside a little each week or month and keep it locked up until a certain date (like November 1), that way you are less tempted to dip into your holiday savings throughout the year.