The holiday season is quickly approaching and with it comes 3 months of highly-anticipated festivities. But amongst all the excitement, it can also prove to be one of the most expensive times of the year. In fact, last year alone, the average American found themselves with more than $1,000 of holiday debt at the end of 2018.
So how can you best prepare to have an enjoyable holiday season without blowing your budget? Below we’ve outlined some tips that you can use throughout the holiday season to help manage your finances with confidence.
November is considered the official start to the holiday season, and also one of the busiest months for travel. Did you know that, on average, more Americans travel during the week of Thanksgiving than any other time of the year? Last year alone, AAA estimated that more than 54 million people traveled 50 miles or more to their Thanksgiving destination.
If you’re planning to travel this Thanksgiving, consider these money-saving tips:
Monitor Flight Deals:
While booking flights in advance is likely to land you the best deal, there’s still an opportunity for potential savings through last-minute deals. Keep an eye out for “flash” sales in which airlines will drastically reduce the cost of airfares in an attempt to fill empty seats. Although these sales may come with inconveniences such as blackout travel dates or layovers, the savings could be worth it if you find a flight that works with your travel plans.
Extend Your Stay:
Another great way to potentially save money is to be flexible in your travel days. Check rates for the days before and after the expected holiday rush. If time permits, also consider traveling on “off-peak” times. Not only will you save money, you might avoid some of the crowds too.
Many consider December to be the most expensive month of the season due to holiday shopping—on average, the majority of individuals spend $900 on gifts every year! But don’t worry if you find this number alarming; with a little creativity and time, you can easily find ways to reduce your gift-giving costs.
Consider DIY Gifts:
If you’re looking to put a creative spin on your holiday gifts, consider making something yourself! DIY holiday gifts are a great option for saving money and, with so many unique ideas to consider, they allow you to create something that is both personal and memorable. The key to maintaining your holiday cheer is to choose a DIY project that you’ll know will be just as fun to make, as it will be to give.
Turn Gift Giving Into a Group Game:
Here’s an idea that works well with friends, co-workers, or even families: Instead of purchasing a gift for each individual, coordinate a “Secret Santa” or “White Elephant” group game instead. With either game, each participant is only responsible for purchasing one gift within a specified budget. Not only do these options allow you to save money, but they’re also a great source of entertainment at your holiday gathering.
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day often serve as the last major celebrations for the holiday season, with the iconic ball drop in Times Square alone bringing roughly 1 million visitors every year to New York City. So, if you’re looking to ring in the new year but want to be mindful of your budget, consider the following:
Host Your Own Party:
Instead of making formal plans to go out (which can often be expensive) coordinate a gathering at home instead. Depending on your preference and budget, you can choose to make the get-together a formal event in which guests dress up, or simply have a casual gathering of friends and family. To make it extra frugal, turn it into a potluck and encourage guests to bring their favorite food or drink to help celebrate!
Need Holiday Financial Help?
Still need a financial hand getting through the holiday season (and beyond)? Consider applying for a personal loan rather than using a credit card. At Credit Direct, our loans come with fixed interest rates and clear terms, so you’ll know exactly what your payment will be each month. With a clear end date for repayment, typically lower rates than credit cards, and a set spending limit, a personal loan is a great option to help you stay on top of your finances. Learn more and apply to check offers in minutes with no effect to credit score!