It’s the season of giving, which also means it can quickly become the time of year for overspending unless you plan ahead and have a budget. Here are some easy ways to save this holiday season and curb unanticipated spending while avoiding new debt that may create stress for you in the new year.
Make a list and check it twice. Write down everyone you want to give a gift to, including the service people you want to thank with a small token of your appreciation. Postal workers and delivery people work hard all year, but especially during the holiday season. Don’t forget them! This also means listing all the extra expenses you will have, from wrapping paper and greeting cards to trimmings for the tree and décor for decking your halls.
Open a designated account for holiday spending. Putting money aside in a separate account can help prevent depleting your checking account or going into debt. Open a Campus Federal’s Club Savings account and easily transfer money between it and your checking account to stay within your budget. If you use a credit card for your purchases, plan to pay the balance with your holiday savings account to avoid carrying debt into the new year.
Record your purchases. By monitoring every dollar you spend, you may second guess your spending habits and rethink any unnecessary items. You are more likely to spend wisely by reviewing your account statements, paying your bills regularly and using online and mobile banking features and budgeting tools to monitor your accounts and help manage your finances.
Use your mobile device. If you find the perfect gift but it’s over your budget, use your smart phone to see if you can find a coupon or a better deal somewhere else. Also, a mobile wallet can save time at checkout and provide an easy way to limit your spending to a specific debit or credit card. Take a few minutes to add your card to a mobile wallet using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay.
Use rewards to your advantage. If you make your purchases using a credit card, take advantage of the rewards you may have earned over the year and cash in any points for small items like gift cards. Our Campus Rewards Mastercard® offers an opportunity for you to earn rewards for everyday spending. For each dollar spent, you earn one point redeemable on travel, gift certificates and cash back with uChoose Rewards®. Check your account balance for rewards you can redeem for extra cash, holiday gifts or even to treat yourself for staying on budget during the holiday season.
Sign up for Skip-A-Pay promotions. Have more cash to spend over the holidays by taking advantage of any promotional opportunities to skip your monthly payment. Campus Prestige and Campus Rewards Mastercard® members may opt-in to our Skip-A-Payment Program to skip December and January payments with no fees* if your accounts are in good standing. The deadline to opt-in is December 1, 2018.
Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals. Doorbuster deals can save you a lot of money if they are items you are already planning to buy. If the thought of fighting the crowds on Black Friday is not appealing to you, consider online shopping on Cyber Monday as an alternative. If you use the wish list feature many online retailers offer or load your shopping cart ahead of time, it will be easier to make any needed adjustments to your spending on Cyber Monday.
Ask for last year’s model. If the latest and greatest features aren’t truly important, last year’s electronic models are always a less expensive option. You are much more likely to score big savings if you purchase an older version of a device.
Don’t forget about shipping and handling fees when purchasing gifts online. It’s typical for an item to appear to be cheaper online than in your local store, until you factor in the cost to ship it. Many online retailers offer a discount coupon if you sign up for their newsletter and you can monitor your inbox for emails from online retailers for any free shipping days.
Don’t wait until the last minute! You are much more likely to overspend if you are in a rush to get your shopping done. If you plan your purchases ahead of time your holiday season will be much less stressful and you’ll feel better about staying on budget.
*The Mastercard® Skip-A-Payment skip period is January and December of each year. Your Mastercard® account must be in good standing in order to participate in the Mastercard® Skip-A-Payment Program. Campus Federal reserves the right to cancel the Mastercard® Skip-A-Payment Program at any time. If you wish to opt out of the program after you have opted in, you must contact us at least 10 days prior to the December credit card cycle date. Interest due on your Mastercard® balance during December 2018 and January 2019 will continue to accrue. The accrued interest will be deducted from your February Mastercard® payment. Your February minimum payment will be calculated by first adding any fees or finance charges to the outstanding balance, multiplying this amount by 3% and if applicable, adding any amount over the credit limit. Business Mastercard® and SmartCare Lines of Credit loans are not eligible for the Skip-A-Payment Program offer. If you do not wish to take advantage of this special offer, simply make your monthly payment or pay your balance in full by the due date each month.