Please welcome guest blogger, Tammy Greynolds!! Tammy Greynolds works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org.
Consumers are getting savvier about saving during the holiday season. According to the Annual CFA-CUNA Holiday Spending Survey, 32 percent of us said we'd spend less in 2013 and 33 percent of us said the same in 2014. As that number increases, the ranks of those who said they would spend more has seen an equally notable decrease. But retailers are catching on to this trend.
It was reported back in August 2015, before back-to-school sales were even off the market, that many major retailers were already on the hunt for ways to get you to spend your holiday dough. As major spending holidays like Halloween and Christmas come and go, the opportunities to spend – spend – spend will be around every corner and in every storefront. But you have a choice; you don't have to buckle to the pressure!
The Holiday Savings Challenge
This holiday season, America Saves is challenging you to not only to be smart in the way you budget, but to save one dollar ($1) for every dollar you spend. It isn't as crazy as it sounds –
- Make your list and check it twice. Develop a list for your upcoming holiday, and be as honest about the dollar amount as possible. Include any costs for gift-giving to family, friends, and colleagues, travel, food, or entertainment that might be associated. Do you give a little extra tip to your babysitter, hair stylist, or favorite barista? We often forget to include these gifts in our budgets, so be sure to add them, too.
- Prioritize and negotiate. What do you need to make it a happy and successful holiday? Divvy up your list into needs versus wants. You need to pay for travel to your holiday destination, but maybe you can pack some food from the pantry rather than buying a meal along the way. The goal here isn't necessarily to shorten the length of your list (although doing so will help, too), but rather to negotiate the dollar amounts for your list down.
- Tally it up and set your savings goal. Add up the sum total of your holiday list, and don't be shy about negotiating it down some more. Once you're at a number (and a list) that is both realistic and manageable, take that final amount and set it as your savings goal for the season. Those who make a commitment to themselves and their family to save usually save more than those who don't. Take the America Saves Pledge to make your commitment real and gain monthly advice and support along the way.
- Make it automatic. Every time you cross an item off the spending plan, set up a transfer from your checking account into a savings account. This isn't necessarily something that you can set on autopilot, but rather can establish as an automatic habit. Starting this process as early as possible can also help you to renegotiate your spending plan if you find that you are having a hard time matching.
You don't have to let holidays break the bank. Join the ranks of those opting to reduce spending and prioritize savings this holiday season. You, too, can reduce spending and save money. To learn more about spending and saving during the holidays and take the America Saves pledge, visit AmericaSaves.org.