Getting into the holiday spirit might tempt you to reach for your wallet and overspend. Decorations, food, gifts, and travel can add up to some serious cash. In fact, the average consumer plans to spend more than $1,000.1
By creating a holiday budget and using smart shopping strategies, you can score great deals, trim your spending, and avoid holiday debt. And no one will ever guess you spent less.
1. Make a list and check it twice.
It's much easier to stick to a spending plan if you start out with a list. Begin by figuring out the total amount you can spend on the holidays. Then divide your expenses into categories, including food, decorations, travel, and gifts. In each area, jot down the items you plan to purchase and how much you can spend on each. Then shop only from your lists. Worried you'll overspend? Consider putting your holiday cash on a prepaid card to keep spending in check.
2. Buying online? Use simple tools to save.
Over half of consumers do at least some holiday shopping online.2 If you're a savvy online shopper, you know coupon codes can save you a bundle, but who has time to hunt for the best code during the hectic holidays? So use a browser extension like Honey, which searches for the best discount available and automatically applies it at checkout.3
Tip: Use an automatic savings tool like Honey to make sure you get the sweetest deal while doing your holiday shopping online this season.
3. Shopping at brick-and-mortar stores? Browse online first.
Want to sniff that perfume or squeeze those fuzzy socks before you buy? Before heading to the store, use a trick known as "webrooming" — that is, going online to check product reviews, compare prices, and learn about upcoming sales before buying at a brick-and-mortar store.4 Be aware, though, that some retailers offer lower prices online than in the store.5 In that case, consider buying online and choosing free in-store pickup.
4. Reward yourself with bigger holiday savings.
Credit card rewards can help you save big this season. First, check to see if you have unused rewards sitting in a credit card account. You might: three out of 10 Americans have never cashed in their rewards.6 If you find a stash, figure out which strategy yields the most value: converting points or miles to cash, redeeming them for gift cards or merchandise you can give as gifts, or using them to book holiday travel. Second, use a cash-back credit card for your shopping to get an extra percentage back on all of your purchases. If you spend $1,000 on a card that gives three percent back, you save $30.
5. Use cards with your best interest in mind.
Wise credit card use is key to avoiding holiday debt. One survey found almost 25 percent of millennials were still paying off last year's holiday purchases during the current holiday season.7 If you won't be able to pay off your card in full when you get the bill, consider applying for a credit card that comes with a zero percent introductory offer. Then calculate how much you can reasonably charge and still pay off your balance before interest kicks in.
Use these tips to celebrate the holidays without spending beyond your means. And if you'd like to get more information on how to budget or use your credit or debit cards, stop by a local branch or give us a call at 1-888-SYNOVUS (1-888-796-6887). We're happy to help this season or any time.
This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.
National Retail Federation, "Holiday 2018," accessed October 30, 2018.
National Retail Federation, "Retailers to Prepare for Post-Election Holiday Shopping," accessed October 30, 2018.Back
Lifewire.com, "What is the Honey App?" accessed October 30, 2018.
Nielsen.com, "What Are Connected Shoppers Doing and Not Doing Online?" accessed October 30, 2018.
Forbes, "Should Retailers Match Their Own Prices Online and In Stores?" accessed October 30, 2018.
Bankrate.com, "3 in 10 Have Never Redeemed Credit Card Rewards," accessed October 30, 2018.
Nerd Wallet, "2017 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report," accessed October 30, 2018.
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