No matter how diligent or financially responsible you are, it’s easy to overspend while on vacation. Even though some people are avoiding the stores, many experts predict spending increases this year. So, if you’re wondering how to avoid overspending while on vacation, here are some tips.
Limit your impulses
It can be tempting to use credit when you are bombarded with offers and sales. A credit card can be a useful tool when shopping for the holidays, as long as it is used responsibly.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when shopping for the holidays is making financial decisions on impulse. Using a credit card to cover large balances or applying for a brand new credit card aren’t decisions that should be taken lightly, let alone in places like the cash line.
Many retailers offer exclusive discounts and their own credit card deals which may seem like the right decision at first, but if you don’t read the fine print you could make costly mistakes. According to experts, over 40% of credit card holders in retail stores regret applying for the card in the first place, and 73% said they applied only to get an initial rebate.
Cardholders should focus on paying off past debt before accumulating new debt, especially if they have high interest rate cards.
Some of the more proven methods include transferring a balance, using a personal or consolidation loan, or gradually reducing debt, over time, depending on your budget and financial situation. Remember, credit is money you haven’t earned yet. Paying off older debts puts you in control of your own finances.
Respect a budget
Make a list and double check it. You should plan your holiday shopping by starting with a list of the people you are shopping for. If you are having a party or meeting and gifts are expected, try a gift exchange, where each guest brings a gift within a certain price range. This will prevent you from buying exorbitant gifts and unintentionally hurting someone.
Planning your family reunion and setting expectations early on can help you avoid a situation where you go into debt just to spread the holiday cheer.
While there may be discounts and good sales during the holiday rush, starting even earlier might be more beneficial. Buying gifts throughout the year based on availability and budget ensures that you don’t rush at the last minute. Starting early puts you in control, you’re looking for the perfect gift, not the perfect sale.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember why we give Christmas gifts in the first place. Whether you are giving your loved one gold, incense, or a retail store gift card, it really is the thought that counts.
Ruedi is a Regional Marketing Specialist with Savant Wealth Management in Bloomington.