According to the yearly consumer survey by the National Retail Federation, holiday spending in 2017 will increase from an average of $936 to an average of $967. That is a 3% increase from spending averages in 2016.

Many individuals find that it is easier to utilize their credit cards during the holidays than to tap into their cash.

Unfortunately, this choice often results in higher spending. The $967 average can quickly increase to $1200, $1500, or even more in spending.

As the New Year rolls in, many find themselves experiencing sticker shock as the credit card bills start rolling in. If only making minimum payments, those Christmas gift purchases can take years to pay off.

The good news is, if you start saving now, you can enjoy a credit card-free Christmas in 2018.

Create a List and Check It Twice

The first step to saving cash for the holidays is to create a shopping list, and remember to check it twice. This list should be created right now – while the holiday season is in full swing. Simply write down the names of those that you are purchasing for this Christmas. As the year progresses, you may want to add new names to the list. This could include new neighbors, new coworkers, or even a new member to your family. A shopping list will allow you to retain your focus while purchasing for those that are included on the list. It will also help you avoid spontaneous, last-minute purchases.

Create a Holiday Savings Account

The next step to ensuring that you avoid all of that plastic during the 2018 holiday season is to create a holiday savings account with your bank. You should decide at the end of 2017 how much you want to save for Christmas. Once you set your amount, you may then take a percentage of your earnings each pay period and transfer them in to the special savings account. You may opt for a percentage of your pay, such as 5% of your total earnings, or a set amount each pay period, such as $20 – the choice is yours. As the savings accumulate in the account, your money will earn interest; therefore, providing you with more money to spend next Christmas!

Take Advantage of Sales, Promotions, Clearance Items, and Coupons

If you save all year long, you will not only be able to avoid using credit cards to make holiday purchases, but, you will get to take advantage of all of the sales, promotions, clearance items, and coupons offered by your favorite retailers throughout the year. Not only does this allow you to save money on all of those gifts, but, it allows you to shop all year – which reduces the amount of holiday stress that you incur as Christmas draws near in 2018.

If you are interested in learning about accounts, savings opportunities, and other financial strategies that will help you save for the 2018 holiday season, visit one of our many lccations

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