It’s that time of year again. The gifts, the wrapping paper, the fancy meals – it all adds up. For some, affording the holidays means accruing bills and worrying about how to pay off debt later. For others, it means setting aside extra money throughout the year. Either way, the average shopper will spend $682 on gifts, food and decorations this, nearly a 4% increase from 2016.
Ways to reduce holiday debt
Living within your financial means, rather than overspending, is obviously good financial advice. But, the spirit of giving during the holidays sometimes makes it far too easy to overspend. Overspending then means you’re stuck having to pay off debt throughout the year. While you could consider a low-interest personal loan or create a plan to consolidate debt after the fact, we’ve got a number of tips and tricks to help you avoid overspending altogether.
Create a no-holiday-debt budget
While you may want to give your family the best gifts, the newest gadgets and prepare the nicest meals, it’s important to set and keep a holiday budget. Creating a holiday budget can be a great family event everyone participates in and has many benefits:
- Keeps family members from overspending
- Sets common expectations for gift-giving
- Teaches younger family members how to balance money
- Ensures no one will be forgotten
Make that list and check it twice! List who you plan to buy gifts for, allot a dollar amount and then (here’s the tricky part) stick to that allotted amount!
Avoid holiday overspending, be a creative gift-giver
With the bows, paper and simplicity of buying something off the shelf, it can be easy to get wrapped up in holiday gift-giving. Taking time to handcraft a gift shows thoughtfulness and sincerity and is so much more economical. It is also a golden opportunity to create holiday memories and traditions that can be passed on for years to come. If you are trying to be cost-conscious, try a few of these economical gift ideas:
- A box of fresh-baked cookies
- Household decorations
- Family photo album
- Bath items like soaps, scrubs and lotions
Take thirty minutes to brainstorm on all the ways you can make the holidays merry and bright, without breaking the bank. Your family and friends will appreciate the thought and you’ll appreciate not having to pay off debt from less personal gifts.
Want to learn about other ways to reduce debt or avoid it altogether? Check out Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union’s debt management services.
Avoid holiday overspending, avoid those catchy ads and gimmicks
A savvy shopper is a successful shopper. Ads and promotional gimmicks are created to entice shoppers to spend more. While there are some great deals to be had during the holiday season, some items, such as jewelry, can actually be priced higher during the holidays. It’s also a good idea to carry your list with you while shopping and comparison shop whenever possible.
Beware of stores that offer extra promotions if you agree to sign up for a store credit card. Unless you’re planning to pay off the balance in the same billing cycle, heed this financial advice: proceed cautiously. While these specialty credit cards may initially seem like a good idea, the credit cards often come with a high interest rate. As interest accrues, it can mean paying significantly more over time, making it extremely difficult to ever pay off debt.
If you do need to borrow for the holidays, do some research on the best low interest personal loans, like the loan options available at Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union.
Personal loans as a holiday spending solution
High interest credit cards can be a risky way to pay for the holidays. Although the promotions may seem enticing, the high interest rates often mean you will be paying more over time. A more cost-effective solution is available with Greater Alliance Credit Union’s best low interest personal loan options.
Personal loans are:
- Available for amounts up to $20,000
- Fast, flexible, and offer a fixed interest rate as low as 5.74%
- Available for terms up to 84 months
Use our easy loan payoff calculator to get an idea of the amount that works for you. If you plan to borrow a smaller amount, our flexible fast cash loans are a great option that can also help to build credit.
After the holidays: Pay off debt with a debt consolidation loan
Set yourself up for financial success in the year to come. Greater Alliance Credit Union’s low interest personal loans and debt consolidation loans make it easy to afford the holidays and pay off debt. Our low-stress application process is easy! Complete an application online or contact our Service Support Team at 888-554-2328 x280 during regular business hours. You can also visit any of our branch locations for more information.
Whichever loan option is right for you, know that Greater Alliance Credit Union is here to deliver the gift of quality member service you know and trust – before, during and after the holidays.