Daily Dupaco

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Budget basics for guilt-free holiday spending

As stores gear up for the holiday shopping season earlier each year, it's easy to get swept up in all of the deals and steals.

But you can celebrate the season of giving without breaking the bank. With Black Friday around the corner, Tami Rechtenbach, director of member services at Dupaco Community Credit Union, offers some simple tips to help you navigate your holiday shopping:

  • Set your budget and make a list before you shop. "You have to sit down and ask yourself: What can I afford, and how do I distribute that? Determine what's comfortable for you," Rechtenbach says. "And stick to your budget."
  • Think twice about shopping on Black Friday. "A lot of impulse buying happens that day," Rechtenbach says. "You get consumed by the spirit of the deals and forget to be practical."
  • Shop with envelopes. Rechtenbach's daughter, a college freshman, came up with a creative approach to avoid overspending: She labeled an envelope for each person she was shopping for, and she put her spending money for each recipient inside the corresponding envelope. "When that envelope was empty, she knew she was done," Rechtenbach says. "I thought that was pretty smart."
  • Take advantage of your credit union's Holiday Club savings account. Now is a great time to start saving for next year's holiday shopping by setting up a Holiday Club account. At Dupaco, many members allocate a certain portion of each paycheck to automatically be distributed into their Holiday Club. When Oct. 31 rolls around, the money is moved into their checking account for holiday spending. This year, 3,400 members utilized the service and saved more than $3.3 million. To get started, Dupaco members can stop by any Dupaco branch or call 1-800-373-7600.

For help creating a spending plan that works for you, check out the Home & Family Finance Resource Center's ideas.

By Emily Kittle

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