Christmas is about two months away. Are you a last minute shopper who charges holiday expenses or have you been saving and planning for this all year? Our hat’s off to all you planners out there but if you’re not so prepared we have some thoughts to help you prep for the most expensive time of year:
Make a list and set a budget – List each person you’re buying for, the items you wish to give them and assign a cost estimate for each one. Also list all those extra holiday expenses like cards, postage, family photos, party expenses, dinners out and other special events that occur throughout the season. Having a total in mind will give you a savings goal. Is the goal too high? Consider ways to cut corners but remember to stick to the list when you shop.
Cut discretionary spending – With Christmas just a few paychecks away, now is the time to reduce spending on the things you don’t really need. Your child needs new shoes but does she need an expensive pair? Do you eat out a lot? We don’t want to tell you how to spend your money but encourage you to think before you spend. Is this item today worth cutting corners later?
Reduce household expenses – On a related note, think about your major household expenses. Can you cut back your cable package or reduce your electric bill? When was the last time you cost-compared car insurance? Can you prepare less expensive meals? You may find there is more than one way to save a few bucks around the house.
Find inspiration to jumpstart your savings with this VCNB story that features 35 ways to save!
Look for discounts – Thanks to a competitive retail environment and the internet, there are tons of ways to save money these days. In addition to traditional coupon clipping, you will find promo codes for discounts and free shipping. There are also websites that sell discounted gift cards and tons of websites that will help you cost compare your purchases. Always look for ways to save on what you’re buying.
Get rewarded – If you’re shopping with your VCNB Platinum Visa® credit card or your Rewards Checking debit card, you have the potential to earn points for purchases. Those points can be redeemed later for gift cards, travel and other items. Points earned with your Rewards Checking debit card can be redeemed for cash back too.
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If you think there’s no way you can save enough to pay for all these seasonal expenses, remember that VCNB offers both a Classic and Platinum Visa® credit card for qualified applicants. With the VCNB Platinum Visa, cardholders can earn UChoose® Rewards Points for purchases made with the card. Click here to learn more about our credit cards and contact your local office to apply.
Want to better prepare for next year? Consider a VCNB Christmas Club account!
Folks who now have a Christmas Club with VCNB will receive their checks this week. We’ve been helping them squirrel away small amounts of money every two weeks since last October so they would have a handsome savings in time for this year’s holiday shopping. Their club will automatically renew for their convenience so they will be getting a jump start on 2017 holiday savings.
If you’re interested in opening your own Christmas Club account, it’s important to note that Christmas Club members determine how much they wish to contribute to their Christmas Club. Want to save a thousand dollars? We’ll divide that amount into twenty-six payments that will be automatically transferred from your checking or savings account to your Christmas Club. In mid-October 2017, your funds will be direct deposited into the checking or savings account of your choice or sent to you as a paper check.
Stop by or call your local branch to get your Christmas Club started today!
What’s your approach to funding big expenses like Christmas? Tell us in the comments section below!