Americans have lots to celebrate this holiday season, with unemployment rates at an all-time low and consumer confidence on the rise. According to The Annual Retail Sales Forecast for the Holiday Season from Deloitte, retailers have their sights on sales of more than $1.1 trillion.
We all get caught up in the spirit of giving, yet the most wonderful time of year is also one of the most stressful financially. Holiday spending doesn’t have to break the bank. A little planning can let you enjoy and be merry.
Here’s a checklist to get started:
Budget for big purchases
* Credit cards: Divide up the big-ticket items. Buy them across several off-season months and pay your balance in full.
* Free shipping: Some online retailers offer free shipping with orders over a certain amount.
* Delayed financing: Look for store credit card promotions that offer low interest rates or delayed financing on large purchases. Pay it down over time without incurring interest.
* Online tools: Struggling to budget alone? Explore online services like Nummo, which can help you consolidate your accounts and keep track of your finances.
Save with coupons and deals
* Save: There’s always the old-fashioned way of saving a little money each month throughout the year, and then spending what you’ve saved. Or save in advance for the more expensive items.
* Credit cards: Redeem credit card points for gift cards you can use for your holiday shopping; alternatively, offer up specific store gift cards as a present.
* Delayed offers: Retailers are tracking what you do online, and often if you leave something in your shopping cart, the retailer will come back with a reminder followed by a discounted offer.
* In-store and online shopping days: Watch your favorite retailers for special offers and sales. Sign up for alerts and follow them on social media to keep track of when they are offering the best bargains.
Buy now, pay later
* Credit card rates: If you are going to apply for a new card, check introductory offers for rates, balance transfer opportunities, and delayed financing options.
* Store credit cards: Often when you open a card at checkout, you receive a discount on your entire purchase. Store cards also offer coupons and deals throughout the holiday season if you use your store credit card. That said, make sure not to keep a balance for long, as store credit cards can have higher interest rates.
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