8 tips to help you save on holiday shopping

Man making christmas shopping list
OCCU  -  11.11.2015

Can you believe it’s already the holiday season? From gift giving to holiday décor, winter comes with extra costs that aren’t included in your monthly budget. With these eight simple tips, you can tackle holiday costs and enjoy a fabulous season without breaking the bank.

1. Start saving up
One of the easiest ways to start saving for the holiday season is by setting aside your extra change. With the Change Jar feature on your OCCU checking account, all your purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar amount and the change is put into your savings account automatically. With virtually no effort on your part, your savings will add up quickly!

2. Make a list and check it twice
Before you start shopping, jot down every person you’ll be buying a gift for this season, and how much you intend to spend on each gift. Making a list will help prevent overbuying. It will also help you build a realistic budget.

3. Build a holiday budget
Once you have your list of gift recipients and an idea of how much you want to spend on each person, use our holiday budget worksheet and check to see if the total you’ve outlined is within your means. You may need to revise your list or cut spending from categories like entertainment or dining out.

4. Make sure the price is right
Instead of buying gifts on the spot, shop around first. Take the time to compare prices online as well as in-store before making the purchase. You may be able to find a similar gift for less by skipping brand names. Take advantage of sales when you can, just make sure you don’t fall for impulse purchases.

5. Put your personality into it
DIY gifts and décor give a personal touch to the holidays – and are typically less expensive. Try looking online for DIY tutorials for things like homemade frames, wreaths or baked goods to give as gifts.

6. Redeem your reward points
If you’re an OCCU credit card holder, you can earn points redeemable for merchandise, travel, gift cards or statement credit. Check the balance of any reward cards you may have, and consider cashing them in to use for gifts or to supplement your holiday budget.  

7. Throw a gift exchange
If your budget doesn’t allow for giving gifts to all your friends and family, try a gift exchange. Put all the names of your family members in a hat and have each person draw one name. That way, everyone will only have to buy one gift.

8. Give into re-gifting (we won’t tell)
Think about things you bought but haven’t yet used. Whether you’ve been holding onto a painting you bought on a whim or an unopened kitchen appliance, unused items may be better off as gifts.