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Tips to Prepare Early for the Holidays

Every holiday season comes around the same way. December sneaks up and, before you know it, you’re scrambling to buy all those last-minute gifts. Beyond the stress of having to check your list twice is the added pressure of making sure you have enough money in your account to also cover your day-to-day expenses. If you don’t have the cash, then out comes the credit card, and your Christmas spirit stops feeling so jolly.

What can you do now, still months away, to make all that gift giving a little easier on your wallet? At TruWest® Credit Union, we believe a proactive approach to your finances is always a move in the right direction. These are my top tips for anyone to start thinking about now to get ahead this season.

It’s never too early to start. TruWest has a Christmas Club savings account that you can open and use specifically for holiday spending. I typically recommend starting as early as the beginning of the year—yes, you read that right—to slowly build up your gift-giving nest egg. Start saving early, and your wallet will thank you.

Keep a budget. Write a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for. Stick to a dollar amount for each person. You’re less likely to splurge on expensive items when you plan ahead.

Use tech alerts to your advantage. Many websites offer alerts for price drops on specific items. If you start early, you can set alerts for items, big or small, and have the alert sent via email or text.

Skip some of those coffee breaks. Let’s say you spend $20 a week on coffee (that’s about four cups a week), and you were to skip two of those each week. That’s $40 a month. If you started a Christmas Club savings account in January, come December that’s close to $450! I know we’re much further into the year, but if you were to start saving today, you could still save more than a hundred dollars before the holidays. Coffee not your thing? Look at something else you buy monthly. I guarantee there is a small adjustment you can make to your budget now that can help you in the long run.

The holidays should be about happy memories and time with your loved ones, not worrying about money. These simple tips can save you plenty of headaches down the road. It’s never too late to start putting away a little extra cash.

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