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Best Holiday Budgeting Tips: Smart Savings for Less Stress

The holidays can be a stressful time of the year because of the demands placed on us, especially on our time and money. But it does not have to be. Having a plan in place for holiday spending at the start of the year may help lower your stress at the end of the year so you can enjoy more of the season. In this blog, we will provide budgeting tips and ways to save on holiday spending.

Know Your Financial Limit

When it comes to holiday planning, knowing how much you can reasonably afford for gifts, travel and other seasonal expenses beforehand will make it easier to manage. The simple way is to add up all your monthly expenses such as rent or mortgage, utility costs, food, car expenses and other bills and subtract it with your monthly income. The remainder will give you an idea as to how much you can save for the holidays. This amount also shows you how much additional debt and payments you could afford while staying within your budget.

Another way to understand your financial limits is to track your spending. According to, keep all your spending to one debit or credit card if you want to see how you spend your money. Doing so will let you track all your card transactions on one account you can review online or via your card statement each month. Having a clear understanding of what you can afford helps you get a handle on holiday spending.

Budget Specifically for the Holidays

Budgeting throughout the year sets you up for more financial success and less stress. The same concept applies to your holiday spending. A practical rule of thumb is to plan how much you will spend on gifts, travel, food, and any other expenses you will anticipate during the holidays, according to

Smart Shopping Strategies

Along with budgeting, smart shopping strategies can help you save money during the holiday season. The first tip is that it is perfectly fine to shop for gifts throughout the year, especially when they are on sale. Taking advantage of deals now that tend to be marked up in price during the holidays can save you money, says

If you plan to travel, consider purchasing plane tickets, lodging or car rental ahead of time. Buying them early will ensure you are paying the lowest price for travel. Plus, you are likely able to find better prices that allow you to save money and stay within your holiday budget.

Avoid Extravagant Spending

Gift giving does not have to be extravagant. It is the thought that counts, so handing out a gift with greater sentimental rather than monetary value should be warmly received. For example, do-it-yourself presents can serve as perfect gifts that are high in sentimental value, according to Other gift options can be found by thrifting or by using secondhand gifts. Both will help you stay within your holiday budget.

Using Credit Wisely

If your holiday spending plan requires borrowing money, it is important to find the best option that fits your budget. Incurring debt should only be done with the mindset that you will pay the money back as soon as possible. Early in the year, start a holiday budget to identify how much you will need to borrow and then start reviewing the various credit products available to you.

If you are considering a credit card, pay close attention to interest rates, monthly payments and how long it could take to pay off the balance. Also, look for cards that offer a rewards program that gives you points that you can redeem for cash back, merchandise, travel and more.

Some retailers offer Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options that allow you to purchase items now and pay it back over a certain period. Be sure to review the terms before applying for this type of loan. Some have high fees for late payments, according to

Another lending option would be a personal loan, such as those offered by Travis Credit Union. These loans usually come with a fixed term with interest rates that are based on your credit. Whatever borrowing option you choose, utilize your credit wisely and be sure to have a plan to pay it back.

How TCU Can Help

Travis Credit Union can help you save for the season and get the financing you need for your holiday budget. Our Money Market Accounts and Certificates allow you to earn a high yield while saving for the future. Our Platinum Visa credit card comes with a rewards program so you can earn points with every purchase.

Trust Travis for your financial needs. Visit our Financial Wellness Hub to learn how to plan, save, spend and borrow better, all of which can help you tackle holiday spending. Visit to learn more or visit a branch near you.

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