Ready or not, the holidays are just a few short weeks away. How’s your holiday shopping coming along? Are you one that’s been finished since November (or earlier!) relaxing at home with a comfy blanket happy that your shopping is all finished? Or are you one who waits until … well, now, to start your holiday shopping? Whether you just have to go out for a few last-minute gifts or haven’t checked any items off your list at all yet, you’re going to want to read along as we share great tips to help keep your budget (and your bank account) in check while you're out holiday shopping. 

Determine Your Holiday Spending Budget

First things first, figure out how much you can realistically spend during the holidays (and stick to it!). Include funds in your checking and savings account that you plan on using for gifts as well as purchases you’re comfortable putting on a credit card. This will help you stick to buying only items you can afford and forgoing those impulse buys.

If you are someone that prefers shopping with a credit card, be sure to choose a card that’s got low interest rates and minimal fees so you can pay off your balance sooner rather than later (pro-tip: go for the GOLD Credit Card, wink, wink!). With the GOLD Credit Card, you’ll enjoy low variable rates, no annual fees, no introductory fees, and no teaser rates, making our card the best one in your wallet.

Additionally, while you’re out shopping, you’ll want to avoid the lure of discounts associated with store credit cards. As tempting as it may seem (especially in the heat of the moment), you’ll find that store credit cards have low credit limits and much higher interest rates, which makes it easier to rack up debt.

Do Your Research

Once you know how much you want to spend, figure out what you want to purchase. Researching the items online to see who is offering the best price can help you save money. If you’re planning to make your purchase online, stick to retailers who offer free shipping. Finding a great sale is useless if shipping costs end up being too expensive. If you can’t find free shipping online, some retail stores offer price match guarantees if you find a better deal online.  

For all the procrastinators out there, while it might be a little late this year, try not to wait until the last minute to shop in the future. Not only will you run into availability issues, but you may also wind up paying more to secure must-have items on your list. This will make an already stressful time of the year even more hectic, and trust me, nobody wants that.

Get Crafty  

If you have a crafty side, consider making homemade presents. Not only are they a great way to save money, but you’ll also be giving the ones you love something memorable straight from your heart. Although homemade gifts may not be appropriate for every single person on your list, they might be a great alternative for others. Some great examples of DIY gifts are:

  • Photo keepsakes like mugs, calendars, or ornaments are perfect for parents and grandparents.

  • Baking cookies or making fudge for your kids’ teachers, bus drivers, and coworkers is a nice way to show them you care without draining your wallet. Plus, who doesn’t love a nice tasty treat?

  • If you’re a knitter, scarves, gloves, and blankets are always appreciated by anyone in your family to keep them warm during the upcoming chilly winter days.

  • If you like painting, acrylic paint pouring on canvases creates beautiful fluid abstract works of art that’ll adorn your loved one’s walls for many years to come.  

Give the Gift of an Experience

While we’re on alternate gift-giving methods, ask your friends and family if you can forgo gift exchanging this year for a memorable experience instead.

Propose ideas like a potluck party where everyone makes and brings their favorite dish to the party. You can even turn it into a fun game, where everyone must guess who made which dish. Another great idea is a cookie exchange party where you bake one kind of cookie and give all the other guests a half-dozen or so to take home with the recipe, and they have fun whipping up the same kinds! Want to get creative and a little silly? Throw an ugly Christmas sweater party, and keep your guests entertained and laughing the night away! Challenge your loved ones to a competition and choose the most creative, funny, or elaborate outfit.

Would you rather have a more adventurous experience? Pack everyone up in the car and take your loved ones on a road trip. You can drive around to tour local light displays, go sledding in the snow, or lace up your skates and take a few whirls around an ice skating rink to get everyone in the festive spirit.

Regardless of what idea speaks most to you, you can ensure that each of them will make a lasting impact that your loved ones will remember and cherish forever.

Open a Holiday Club Account

If you really want to ensure that you stick to your holiday budget, consider opening a separate account specifically for the holidays. GOLD Holiday Club accounts are the perfect way to help you save for the holidays all year long so you don’t bust your budget all at once in December. Holiday club accounts carry over from year to year, making it easier for you to get a head-start on stashing away money for the holidays next year and for all the years to come.

You’ve got the opportunity to fund your new account with the amount you decide you’re comfortable spending, which will help you from accidentally overspending while shopping. You can set aside a portion from every paycheck, and by the time the account matures every year on September 30, you can rest assured knowing your holidays will be fully funded and stress-free.

Give the Gift of GOLD

I hope these tips will help you prepare for the holidays and reduce some of the stress that can come along with this hectic time of year. My last tip won’t cost a thing, but it will earn you and your friends and family a cash reward! When you refer new eligible Members to GOLD this holiday season and they open a checking account, you’ll each receive a $50 bonus. Talk about a win-win for both of you, right?

Your friends and family deserve a bank with friendly, personalized service that has their backs, a lender that looks at the whole picture and not just a credit score, and a financial education expert that provides the tools needed to achieve financial success. They deserve GOLD.

The holidays are a special time where we tend to reflect on the things that matter most to us, and in the end, what matters most is the quality time we spend with one another. From all of us at GOLD, we wish you all the joy and happiness of the season, and we hope you have a happy holiday! 

Tim Kunkel

Tim Kunkel

Tim is a Branch Manager at GOLD. In his role, he is responsible for day-to-day operations and motivates his staff to achieve their career aspirations, while empowering our Members to achieve personal financial success. He enjoys being able to educate Members and help pave the path to financial freedom.

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