While it might be the most wonderful time of the year, does that ring true for your savings account? Between gifts for my family and friends, décor to keep my house looking nice and festive and all the holiday events to make the season magical for my kids, I know firsthand that expenses can add up quickly. That raises the question – is it possible to build and maintain a healthy savings for the holiday season? And if so, where does one start?
Luckily, we have experts at TTCU to help our savings stay on track.
I consulted two of those experts, Bryan B. (Claremore) and Todd M. (Tahlequah) for some tips on healthy holiday savings.
Start early and set realistic expectations.
- “You don’t have to try to build up your savings all at once - pace yourself so you find a balance in enjoying life and being more secure,” Bryan said. “Being more financially secure will exponentially increase your ability to enjoy life.”
- “Start savings habits early so they are in place before the holiday season even starts, even if just a little bit at a time,” Todd said. “(This) will make a positive impact for the holidays, and even long after they’re over.”
- “Don’t set unrealistic goals and know that anything you save is more than what you had before,” Bryan added. “Start out saving for a reason, albeit for one specific purchase or event. Once you prove to yourself you can do it, then the habit is more easily replicated. Then, later down the road you will be surprised at what you have accomplished.”
Always be mindful of the products you’re using to save and spend.
- “Try not using high-interest credit cards to pay for holiday gifts, travel or even meals unless you are earning points and paying it off once you get the bill,” Todd said.
- “For the long term beyond just holidays, I’m a big fan of using a Roth IRA (you can withdraw your savings tax-free) as a major savings vehicle,” Bryan said.
- “Start small and in a way that doesn’t impact your ability to pay monthly bills and expenses,” Todd added. “Then, build upon how much you put back each paycheck every time you get a pay raise or even an incentive pay or bonus – always take these opportunities to build upon your savings.”
And always, it’s important to just do the best you can and recognize that it’s the intention behind your holiday spending, not quantity.
- “It’s important to remember that the holiday season is not about how much you spend, but the thought behind what you give.” Bryan said. “Your family members will be more thankful in receiving something personable that may cost $20, versus an impersonable gift for $200.”
- “It’s never too late to start saving,” Todd said. “Make a plan and do your best to follow through with it, and don’t compare yourself to others and how well they are or aren’t doing. Doing your own personal best is what matters most.”
Need some help with your savings this holiday season? We’d love to help! As always, we’re here to answer all your questions and get you on the financial path that works best for you.