How to save money during the holidays

Published on Jul 01, 2021

How to save money during the holidays

The holiday season is upon us, and during this frenzied and festive time of year, when so much emphasis is placed on gift-giving, it can be easy to overspend. 

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday retail spending over November and December this year is estimated to increase by 4%, for a total of around $730 billion. If you don’t want to start your new year digging out from under a mountain of holiday debt, there are a number of ways to keep your spending under control. Here’s some advice to consider: 

Set a holiday budget and stick to it

Create a list of all your holiday gift recipients and determine how much you’re willing to spend on each person. Don’t forget to budget for additional holiday expenses like food, decorations, travel, and family activities. Once you know how much you’re comfortable spending you can enjoy the holidays with much less stress. 

Don’t overspend

It’s one thing to create a budget and another to stick to it. Some people find that putting cash in envelopes helps manage gift spending – once the cash is gone, you’re done shopping. This also prevents you from running up interest fees on credit card payments. This method doesn’t work for online shopping, however, and doesn’t allow you to take advantage of reward points, cash back, or other credit card bonuses. 

Successfully navigate sales

Make the most of your dollar by taking advantage of big sales this holiday season. Just make sure you come prepared. Know your target list, your budget, and your backups.

Avoid impulse buys

When you’re out in the crowds and desperately searching for that perfect gift, it can be easy to give in to impulse buys that cost more than you would normally want to spend. To avoid this, it’s best to start holiday shopping as early as you can. Also, think ahead about what you want to buy for each person so you can begin looking for deals, coupons, or promo codes. Fortunately, there are a number of popular deal finder apps, shopping comparison sites, etc. that can make finding the best deal a snap. Check out these popular options: 

Pick budget-friendly activities

The holidays are a time for making memories, but that doesn’t mean they have to be expensive. Think about establishing some fun, cost-effective traditions like driving around and looking at holiday lights or baking cookies together. Manage entertaining expenses by having a potluck meal when you get together. 

Start saving early

Perhaps the best thing you can do to control holiday spending is to plan ahead. Create a holiday savings account that you contribute to throughout the year, and limit yourself to not spending more than what you’ve saved in that account. You can open a Valley Holiday Club Account for low minimum deposits of $10, $20, $25 or $50, and upon maturity, can have those funds either direct deposited to you or mailed to you by check. 

The holiday season should be a fun and festive time of year, not a time to stress, overspend and bury yourself in debt. Be a smart spender this year. It will make for a happier, more worry-free holiday season.