As chillier temperatures of November hit the Northeast, many of us begin to look forward to creating fond memories of all that the winter holiday season brings. It becomes easy to echo the sentiments of the popular Christmas song and declare, “It's the most wonderful time of the year.”
But putting the nostalgia of the season aside, it may actually be more stressful than wonderful! Gift-giving pressure, money concerns, and lack of time are just a few of the common concerns that “the most wonderful time of the year” can bring. However, by following the tips and shopping strategies below, you may be able to eliminate some worries and enjoy your favorite holiday traditions and the spirit of the season.
Minimize Gift Giving and Money Worries
Giving may be better than receiving, but only if the gift is both affordable for you and valued by the recipient. Take the pressure off this holiday season by enlisting help wherever you can. Tired of guessing what kind of gift your friends and family might want? There is nothing wrong with asking them! They’ll certainly appreciate getting a present they truly want or need!
Reduce financial concerns by creating a shopping budget well in advance of the holiday season. By sticking firmly to the budget while you check off the gift items on your list, you will be far less likely to succumb to costly impulse buying. Take the time to conduct thorough consumer research and compare prices before you purchase anything.
Tip: Use this great calculator to help see where your money goes!
Maximize Your Shopping Time
In the ramp-up to the winter holidays, time can become just as precious as money. If you’re going to brave the crowds at brick-and-mortar stores, you may want to consider concentrating on “one-stop” shopping locations that allow you to buy several items on your list at the same time. And, whenever possible, look for opportunities to support local businesses.
You can make even better use of your time and even save money by shopping online. Online shopping makes it easy to compare prices and products among large numbers of retailers, many of whom offer special ecommerce sales and free shipping. Plus, the internet contains nearly infinite websites to help you brainstorm and spark inspiration for the hard-to-shop for on your list.
Whether you choose to shop in stores or online, it is vital to start as early as possible. Shoppers who wait until the last minute will inevitably face empty shelves, bigger crowds, and shipping delays.
Pay with Ease and Keep Tabs on Your Debit Card
When you’re trying to take the hassle out of holiday shopping, little things can make a big difference.
For instance, why fumble for your wallet in the checkout line when your phone is already in your hand? Most major retailers and many boutique shops accept Digital Wallet payments like Apple Pay®, which make it simple to quickly and securely pay with your phone.
And using a person-to-person money transfer service such as Zelle® is an easy way to send, request and receive funds. It’s never been easier to pay friends and family! You just need an email address or a mobile phone number and, regardless of where they happen to bank, you’ll be able to split the cost of more expensive gifts without any hassles.
Keeping tabs on your spending is much easier with online and mobile banking! It’s the most convenient way to manage your accounts, review transactions, pay bills, monitor your credit score, manage your debit card and more, all on your own schedule and from any computer or mobile device. With tools like Account Alerts, you can get real-time account notifications which help you track spending and keep your money safe and secure during the holidays.
The Big Picture When It Comes to Holiday Planning
No matter how you celebrate this holiday season, make solid planning an essential part of the festivities. Remember that with a little up-front budgeting and strategizing, you can help eliminate shopping stress and make the holidays much brighter.
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