November 5, 2021Tips for Shopping Early this Holiday Season
Fall is here, which means the winter holidays are right around the corner. Anyone could feel a little overwhelmed during the holiday season, leading to procrastination, shopping anxiety, or delayed gift-picking. But the holidays are meant to be full of fun and love, so minimizing your stress is the best strategy for thoroughly enjoying the holidays.
Below are a few tips that will help you be “on your game” by shopping early this year!
1) Create a Gift List
While it can be fun to buy gifts for everyone you know, smart holiday shopping starts with creating a list of your closest relationships. Once you make the list, itemize gift possibilities for each person.
By narrowing down potential candidates for gift-receiving and items they might like, you set a limit on how much holiday spending you’ll do, reducing your risk of “overbuying.” This can also decrease stress by limiting your time thinking of gift ideas and shopping.
2) Make a Budget
Set a budget and stick to it. Money can be tough to manage during the holiday season. Your best option for controlling your spending is to delegate a certain amount of money you are willing to spend; even specific amounts you are willing to spend per person. Then ensure your gift ideas stay within that range.
If you see something a little over budget that you know a friend or loved one would ADORE, you could choose to buy it, but make sure you reduce spending on other gifts to stay within budget.
3) Set a Day to Get to the Stores Now
Shortages and supply chain disruptions from the pandemic continue to hit most industries worldwide, especially when it comes to electronics. Many companies have seen unusual shortages, so pinpoint the gifts you want now and buy them while they’re in stock. If gaming systems, mobile devices, or computers are on your list, buying early is a smart move because they may be in short supply. Likewise, their costs may be overinflated as you get closer to the holidays.
Some stores offer holiday sales long before “Black Friday.” By the end of November, you might start to feel too much pressure ramp up. Therefore, there’s no time like the present to start your holiday shopping.
4) Shop Online and Do Curbside Pickup
Shopping online allows you to compare prices easily and quickly among several retailers. If there is a specific item you want, consider signing up for alerts from deal-posting websites. Or enroll in emails from your favorite retailers, as many will send special coupon codes as the holidays approach.
While many online retailers offer free shipping, for those that do not, consider curbside pickup as a way to save on shipping costs and extend your holiday budget.
5) Be Smart if Using Credit Cards
Many people use credit cards during the holidays due to their ease of use and ability to track spending. However, if you decide to go this route, it’s essential to apply rules to your spending to maintain control over your debt.
First, always use your credit card with the lowest rate. While many credit cards offer rewards, these cards typically have much higher interest rates. If you cannot pay off the balance in full right away, you may end up paying significantly more in interest than you earn in rewards. The PEFCU Visa® Credit Card has best of both worlds: You can earn ScoreCard® reward points with every purchase, plus, because of the competitive rate, BestCards.com says the PEFCU Visa® Credit Card is “perfect for carrying balances.” And usually, you can earn double points during the holiday season, which can be redeemed for select gift cards, travel discounts, merchandise, and more.
Also, while it’s best to pay off your credit card balance in full each month, this is not always an option for many. If this is the case, it’s important that you set guidelines for paying off the debt within a specified timeframe. Your goal should be to avoid going into the new year with significant credit card balances.
Lastly, try to use only one credit card for your purchases. This tactic will help you easily keep track of your spending throughout the holiday season.
6) Consider a PLOC
A PLOC could be a smart choice when it comes to borrowing money over the holidays. With a PLOC, you have a set revolving line of credit to use for cash – making it easy to stay within your budget. And because these loans have structured repayment plans and a set payoff date, you’ll know exactly when you will repay your debt.
We’re Here to Help!
While the holidays can be stressful, they are also a time of celebration. If you’re looking for financial assistance during the holiday season, we’re here to help. Please stop by any of our convenient branch locations, visit www.PEFCU.com, or give us a call today at 1-800-226-6673 to learn more about all the options we have to help make your holidays merry and bright.
Each individual’s financial situation is unique, and readers are encouraged to contact PEFCU when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice. If such advice or a legal opinion is required, please consult with competent local counsel.