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Holiday shopping on laptop

ATTENTION: Holiday Online Shoppers! Create a Christmas Budget.

The largest shopping season is upon us! Online shopping has become prevalent for gift buying and is easier than ever. We’re seeing that consumers prefer online shopping due to the convenience. More sites are offering free shipping as well as better online deals than what can be found in the stores. Amazon alone is a PRIME example of this. Shopping is easier than ever with two day, sometimes even one-day shipping, lightening deals and the convenience of easy returns.

Though we all love convenience, sometimes it can trap us financially. Have you ever thought that online shopping may be too easy? Take this scenario.

You find three things on Amazon that you want to purchase for your spouse for Christmas and you’re thrilled because they’re all lightning deals!  You buy them without hesitation because the deal expires in 11 minutes. Fast forward five minutes… an email pops in from Kohl’s. They just sent you a 30% off coupon that is valid online for one day only. Well shoot, you can’t let that go to waste, right?! They have a coat that you’ve been wanting to buy for your brother, and if you buy the coat and one other thing, it rounds your total up to $100, so you’ll get $20 back in Kohl’s cash. Great, transaction complete!

See how easy that was? Five items that you weren’t necessarily planning to purchase, were purchased without hesitation because of the pressures of great flash sales. Sure, deals, sales and coupons are great because they save you money, but essentially they only save money on things that you were initially planning to buy.  When you use them for unplanned purchases its additional money out the door. This is where budgeting comes into play.

Folks, we can’t tell you enough, CREATE A BUDGET! If you spend, spend and keep spending because you’re tempted by the great deals, you’re going to end up financially unstable. We want to see our members prepare themselves so that they can live out this season debt and stress free. Here are some steps for how to go about creating a budget.

  1. Take a look at your bank account and your bills and decide how much you can comfortably spend on gifts this holiday season.
  2. Once that amount is decided, transfer that money over to a sub-share within your bank account (your holiday share).
  3. Make a list of people you are going to shop for.
  4. From the money that you’ve set aside, split it between the people you are going to shop for and set a price limit per purchase/item. Don’t overspend on any of these people. You’ve set your budget, now you have to stick to it.
  5. When you make a purchase for one of these people, take the money from your holiday sub-share to pay. When the account runs out, YOU ARE DONE!
  6. Keep track of how much you have spent on each person from your list. For more assistance, there are apps to help you do this such as Santa’s Bag.

Follow these simple steps and you will find yourself stress-free after Christmas! (Or a little less stressed.)

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