Couple holiday shopping.

The holiday season is upon us. That can mean some out-of-the-ordinary expenses. Instead of spending more than you planned, put these six holiday spending tips to use, whether you’re shopping for groceries, holiday gifts, or traveling to visit family and friends.

Plan Ahead

In the early 1800s, Americans didn’t give gifts for the holidays. It was more of a family event centered around food. Times have certainly changed. Today, the holidays are equally about family and friends as they are about giving and receiving. To keep from giving too much of your budget, establish a list of people who will receive a gift and how much you are willing to spend on each person. Then stick to that budget.

Make a List

Before you go out shopping for anything holiday related, including gifts, food, groceries, decorations, or travel expenses, make a list of the items you’ll need. Then, when you get to the store or start shopping online, you can refer to your list. If you deviate from the list, it could break your holiday budget.

Keep Receipts

Carefully keep receipts from your holiday purchases. Then use those receipts to track and add up every holiday expense at the end of every shopping trip. Some experts advise that you use money tracking software, while others simply advise using a simple spreadsheet or pad of paper. Whatever works for you and keeps your budget intact is ideal.

Be Crafty

Do you have a penchant for crochet, painting, drawing, or woodwork? In a world full of gadgets and shiny, new items, something homemade is often cherished. Just be sure you track what you spend on supplies. Or, buy something handmade from a local art store or specialty shop.

Do Your Research

Many retailers aren’t waiting until Black Friday to offer big discounts. Start comparing prices now – online or in weekly ads – and keep track of the lowest prices you can find. That way you’ll recognize a good deal when you see it. Take advantage of free shipping offers, and track shopping trends in case a popular item on your list is at risk of being sold out.

Don’t Procrastinate

When you shop at the last minute, you miss out on all the sale prices and quality items. That goes for travel as well. Buying airline tickets at the last minute during the holidays will cost you more – a lot more. Start shopping and spending as early as you can to get the most from every dollar.

Looking for more advice from Rivermark? You can find it on saving, credit, identity protection, home buying, and a lot more right now. We’re also available at any branch location, or over the phone at 503.626.6600 or 800.452.8502.


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