The holiday season is a special time. With Charlie Brown on television and carols on the radio and an ever-growing list of people to shop for, it’s easy to get carried away.  The pressure to over-shop and overspend when you’re rushing to buy everything on your list can be overwhelming. No worries, though; we’ve got you covered! Read on for fantastic pre-holiday tips to ensure you’ll have a holly, jolly December without breaking the bank.

7 Pre-Holidays Tips

  1. Take out a holiday loan

During the holiday season, State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU) is offering members a special holiday loan rate on personal loans. A holiday loan can provide you with a low-interest rate and help you avoid racking up credit card debit at a higher interest rate. A holiday personal loan gives you one lump sum of cash with a predictable monthly payment each month. It can be used to help you with holiday expenses like gifts and travel, ensure that you remain within budget, has a defined amount of time and payment schedule to pay off the loan.

  1. Revise your gift list

Gift giving is a treasured tradition, but chances are, lots of the people you exchange gifts with would be as relieved as you’d be to be taken off your list. Narrow down your gift list. Talk to co-workers and acquaintances about just exchanging cards this year, or make a deal to only exchange homemade or inexpensive gifts.

This way, you can focus on buying special gifts for those closest to you instead of generic gifts for everyone you’ve ever met.

  1. Organize a Yankee Swap or Secret Santa

Still got a list that’s a mile long? Try one of these creative solutions! A Yankee Swap or a Secret Santa activity not only saves money and stress, but it also adds a bit of intrigue and playfulness to the holidays. These swaps are great for family gatherings, office parties, and neighborhood get-togethers.  Everyone involved only needs to bring a single gift – and it’s always fun.

Set a reasonable price cap on gifts so no one ends up leaving with a candy cane while the person next to them hauls off a flat-screen Television.

  1. Bake holiday treats

Another great way to reduce the financial weight of your gift list is to break out the baking supplies and start whipping up your own holiday treats instead of buying gifts.

It’s hard to know exactly what your friend will like as a gift, but no one turns down a tin of homemade holiday cookies! Use your favorite traditional recipes, or try something new and different.

  1. Make a budget and stick to it

This tip sounds a bit obvious.  After all, we all plan to stick to a budget, right. If you need help you get started setting up a budget and monitoring your spending during the holidays, SDFCU has a few online Personal Financial Management tools available on its website.

Don’t set yourself a ballpark budget.  Set an absolute limit to how much you will spend on the holidays this season.  This will encourage you to plan your spending rather than grabbing impulse items as you move through a store.  It will also encourage you to look for great deals, which brings us to our next tip.

  1. Make use of holiday deals….but don’t get distracted

It’s easy to become hypnotized by deals. Prices drop and we go wild, spending more than we originally intended because we don’t want to miss out on those “crazy, low holiday prices.”

  1. See what rewards you have

You may have rewards available to you and can redeem both your Cash Rewards and Purchase Rewards for cash and your Flexpoints Rewards for merchandise. You can also earn even more cash rewards by shopping through the Cash Back Mall through Online Banking.

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