The holiday season is here, and so begins holiday spending. To keep your pulse and your finances in check, NBT Bank offers consumers the following seven tips for spending wisely:
1. Set a budget. The first critical step for smart holiday spending is to set a budget, an amount of money you know you can use and still meet all other financial obligations.
2. Make a list. Follow Santa’s lead and make a list of all the people you need to buy for, then divvy up your budget among this list so you know what your spending limit is per person.
3. Consider your points. If you have earned rewards points on a credit card, now is the time to cash them in.
4. Comparison shop. Many stores will match the lowest price, so do the research to make sure you’re getting the best price.
5. Skip Black Friday and/ or Cyber Monday. It may sound sacrilegious to some, but both of these events can create a greater impulse to spend on unplanned items or spend more. Most retailers will offer sales both before and after those two days.
6. Consider the day. According to Regina Novickis, Consumer Expert with Slickdeals, the day of the week can sometimes matter depending on the type of gift you’re looking for. Generally speaking, Monday is the best day to buy electronics, Wednesday will save you the most on jewelry, Saturday is the best day for books, and Sunday for appliances.
7. If you must charge, charge only what you can pay. Resist the urge to open new credit card accounts when you may not take the time to carefully review the payment terms or comparison shop the rates.
Remember that above all, the holiday season is not about spending, it’s about giving. Some of the best things you can give to family and friends are free.