The most wonderful time of the year isn’t always the most wonderful time for your wallet. Vacation, gifts and holiday meals can all add up. And that’s not even counting any holiday emergencies! You can save up all year for the holidays and still threaten your budget. But don’t worry – with a little planning and some help from First Commonwealth, you can take the holidays from fretful to fun.
SET A BUDGET.
Count up all your typical expenses so that you don’t come up short on bills or rent. Next, think about what else you may be spending money on in the coming months. Are you hosting a party at your home or traveling to visit family or friends? Estimate what those things will cost you. Once you’ve subtracted any expenses from your usual budget, you can think about how much you have to spend on gifts.
MAKE A LIST.
With all of the excitement of the holidays, it can be easy to get carried away. Make a list of the gifts you need and cross them off as you go. (No impulse buys allowed! If it’s not on your list, it doesn’t go in the cart.)
DECIDE HOW YOU’RE GOING TO PAY.
Are you going to use cash or credit cards to pay for gifts? A helpful budgeting rule to set for yourself is to only bring the amount of cash you plan to spend. Otherwise, using a credit card can give you more consumer rights. And, some credit cards have rewards programs that may help you pay for travel or merchandise you need in the future.
TRACK YOUR HOLIDAY SPENDING.
Just like you wrote down your lists to keep track of what you need to buy, you should also keep track of what you’ve spent. Periodically check to see if you are on track and sticking to your budget. Make spending adjustments if needed.
GET SOME HELP.
Sometimes, we need a little boost to the budget in order to pay for all the extra holiday expenses. If you’re following the tips above and still find yourself needing extra funds, turn to First Commonwealth. We offer a Visa® Platinum Rewards credit card that will perk up your purchasing power while earning you one CURewards® point for every dollar spent. Homeowners may also be able to take advantage of our home equity loans and lines of credit. Both options feature low, monthly payments and flexible terms.
Looking to keep your head above water? Learn more about our loan options.