Easy Ways To Minimize Debt This Holiday Season

When it comes to shopping this year, is your holiday budget naughty or nice? Only you have the final ‘sleigh.’

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers plan to spend an average of $997 this holiday season. While not everyone relies on credit, 41% of consumers who celebrate the holidays and carry credit card debt are prepared to add to their deficit, according to a poll by creditcards.com.

This year, do what is best for you. With a little planning, smart shopping, and creative ways to earn more, you can start the year feeling more confident and happier about your finances.

Avoid piling on additional debt with these simple tips.

Track your Holiday Expenses

Track your holiday spending with this handy Excel Holiday Spending Worksheet.

Talk To Loved Ones

Holiday traditions can be expensive, especially as families grow. This year, consider having a heart-to-heart with your family and friends; be open and honest about how you feel. Each family may be spending hundreds of dollars each year simply because it’s what you’ve always done. Talking openly about your hopes for the holidays may bring relief to all.

Reduce Gift Spending

The bulk of spending during the holidays is on gifts for family. Rather than giving each family member a gift, try something different. Coordinate a white elephant gift exchange or draw names for a Secret Santa approach. This change alone can bring big relief to your budget.

Redeem Points

Holidays are a time where credit cards offer multiple points just for using them. Why not get rewarded for all of your holiday shopping! If your credit card offers rewards, now’s the time to take advantage of those points. You may already have points accumulated that you forgot about!

Check out IFCU's credit card options, which include cash back and reward options!

Get A Seasonal Job

If you’re committed to spending more than your current budget, consider boosting your income. Turn a hobby into a money stream or apply for a seasonal job at retailer. You’ll have extra income and may have access to an employee discount as an added perk. It’s a win-win.

Borrow Wisely

Set on borrowing money this holiday season? Look over your options. If you’re going to pay the balance in full when the statement arrives, use a credit card that earns cash back or points. If you’re planning to carry a balance, it’s best to go with the option that offers the lowest interest rate. Check out this low rate holiday loan option that is perfect for bring a little more holiday cheer.

Sell Duplicate Items

What do you do when you receive something you already have? Maybe your sister thought you could use a crockpot or perhaps your brother bought you new headphones. If you already have the item, you can try selling your old one for cash or getting store credit for the new one.

Save For Next Year

To reduce our dependency on borrowing, it’s best to anticipate the added expenses. Keep your receipts and track your expenses this holiday season. Take the total amount spent and divide by 10 to see what you should save from January to October of next year. For example, if you spend $800 this year, you’ll contribute at least $80 a month to your holiday fund for 10 months to prepare.

IFCU wishes you all a safe and Happy Holiday. If you need any financial assistance this holiday season, give us a call at 765-771-8000. We would be happy to help make your holidays have a little more cheer.

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