*First National Community Bank’s blog does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, investment or other professional advice. Recipients should consult their professional advisors for advice.

The holiday season is here. During this special and festive time, it is easy to  get carried away with an ever growing shopping list. The opportunities and pressures to over-shop and overspend when you’re rushing to buy everything on your list -- and can do so at the click of a button in many cases -- can be overwhelming. We have outlined 5 tips to keep holiday spending in check both before and after the holidays:  

  1. Scale Back On Your Gift List

While gift giving is a time honored and tradition this time of year, the types of gifts and the number of people on your list should be re-visited at the beginning of each holiday season. Simply talking with those on your list such as acquaintances and coworkers about a simple card exchange or setting a maximum spend amount under $10 or $20 for gifts can help ensure that you have enough money in your budget for those closest to you without going over budget.  

  1. Create A Holiday Budget

Perhaps as important of creating a holiday spending budget is adhering to it and not overspending, which can lead to crushing credit card debt. By setting an absolute limit to how much you will spend on the holidays this season, you will be encouraged to plan your spending rather than grabbing impulse items as you move through a store. It will also encourage you to look for the best deals (see our next tip). In addition, try leaving your credit cards at home and paying with cash to avoid the temptation of overspending once you run out of cash.

  1. Plan Ahead To Take Advantage Of Holiday Deals

This time of year it is easy to find great deals. Just be sure that these items are on your list and that you are waiting for the deals to purchase only what you need. Once prices drop, we have a tendency to spend more than we intended to avoid missing out on the low holiday prices. Don’t be tempted by deals to the point that you buy things that are not on your holiday shopping list.

  1. Gift The Gift Of Your Time

Even though the holidays are all about giving, it doesn’t mean you have to spend money on gifts. Consider baking your own holiday treats instead of buying gifts – after all, no one turns down a tin of homemade holiday cookies! You can also give the gift of volunteering. This time of year, help is needed at homeless shelters, soup kitchens and other charity organizations. This kind of giving doesn’t cost a dime but can be the most memorable! 

  1. Plan Your ‘Post’ Holiday

If you’ve adhered to your budget, post-holiday you will be free from credit card debt and able to start the new year off financially strong. To help keep your budget on track, you can offset expenses in the new year by using those holiday gift cards you have been given. In addition to using up your gift cards, you’ll probably find yourself with a bunch of gifts you don’t really want. Some of these can be saved and re-gifted next year or used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Examples include bottles of wine, perfumes and colognes, bath products, etc. Even if you don’t actually want it, you can likely find someone else who does, saving you money throughout the year! 

It is important to plan ahead and avoid overspending during the holidays. Banking with a locally owned community bank is an investment in your community. As YOUR locally owned community bank of choice, the success of your financial future is top of mind. We offer Personal Checking Accounts, Money Market, Personal Savings Accounts, CDs, IRAs, Business Loans, Treasury Management Services, Mortgages, Personal Loans of all shapes and sizes and much more! To learn more about First National Community Bank’s financial solutions, contact us here.

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