With the holidays just around the corner and so many of us wanting to spread holiday cheer with our friends and family this year, we want to encourage you to enjoy this holiday season while also protecting your finances. Here are some tips to help keep your holidays and your wallet bright.
Changes to the shopping experience this season
Many of us either already have or will be doing some holiday shopping damage soon enough. This year, one of the things you may notice is that many retailers are having challenges with stocking their shelves due to limited resources for supplies. Not only will the shelves not be as fruitful this year, but you may notice that discounts or sales may not be as generous as previous years. If you hope to get that special gift for that special someone on time, you may want to start your holiday shopping sooner rather than later. To help overcome some of these hurdles, you may also want to leverage online shopping as you may also find some last-minute deals while browsing.
Shopping safely online
As a reminder, while shopping online, make sure to keep your information safe by changing your passwords (if you haven’t done so recently) and avoid saving your credit card information on websites. Most financial institutions offer a feature that will alert you any time your credit card is used online — we recommend turning this feature on so that you can keep an eye out for suspicious account activity.
Here are some other ways that you can shop safely and securely this holiday season:
- Limit public Wi-Fi where anyone can join that network
- Browse secure sites – look for the “s” in the “https” as the “s” stands for a secured site
- Utilize credit over debit – Your credit cards may offer rewards, additional security, and limited liability protection if you experience fraud.
Set and stick to your holiday budget
Setting a budget can help you better plan who you will shop for and how much you will spend. Depending on what your holiday expenses will look like, setting a budget can also help you plan ahead by adjusting your expenses during or before the holiday season. Some ways you could increase your cash flow is by taking advantage of skip payment opportunities or pausing reoccurring subscriptions. Whether you’re setting and sticking to a budget via a digital app, Excel sheet, online, or via traditional pen and paper, make sure to leverage the tools available to keep you ahead of the game.
Avoid holiday debt pitfalls
Using credit has many advantages but it is important to not overextend your credit limit. Keep track of your spending and review your statements to be aware of your balance and help keep you on budget. Remember to stick to your holiday shopping list even when there are great sales, they can be tempting! Sometimes store credit cards are appealing but offer low credit limits and higher rates. Higher credit card debt means higher monthly payments, which could impact your overall budget post-holidays, so do yourself a favor and don’t go over your holiday budget and your bank account will thank you. If you are in the market for a low-interest credit card, you can apply today for a Partners Visa® Platinum credit card.
Door-to-door Donations, Deliveries and Porch Pirates
Be very wary of any strangers who might come to your door this holiday season. Criminals can sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts, so be cautious when accepting packages. If you’re expecting deliveries make sure to have a secure location for your packages to avoid tempted porch pirates. If you may not be home upon arrival, reach out to your neighbor if you’re expecting a package and see if they will hold onto for you and do the same in return. It’s also not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others’ generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations. Ask for identification and find out how the funds will be used. Let them know if you aren’t satisfied and help a charitable organization you know and like instead.
For more financial tips join us for one of our, Financially Fit Habits for the Holidays webinars!
Cheers and Happy Holidays!