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Surviving the holidays with your budget intact

From HealthNet Federal Credit Union

Christmas Decoration and Piggy bank, concept of Home Finances

The holidays can be a joyous time, but it can also be very stressful. While we’re eager to see the smiles that gifts can bring, we also have to keep an eye on spending so we can still pay the bills. Below are some helpful tips to keep your budget intact while spreading Christmas cheer.

Keep it simple. From gifts to wrapping paper, dinner and décor, remember that less is more. When shopping for gifts, look for a couple of meaningful items, rather than multiple things. Your friends and family will appreciate the thought put into the gesture more than the number of items that they unwrap.

Decorations can add up as a major expense, as well. Whether you are just starting out on your own or have been decorating the same house for 20+ years, build your collection of holiday decorations over time, one or two new items per year. It’s about the spirit of Christmas and getting into the season, not how many lights you can put up at once. And remember, all those extra lights will cause your utility bill to rise, so you may want to invest in an automatic timer to set the number of hours those lights are on.

Stick to your budget. Before you begin shopping, look at your finances and know ahead of time how much you can spend, then stick to it. Look for deals and coupon codes. Think about what time of day you will be shopping. Will you need to eat out, or can you eat at home before or after your shopping trip?

Shop smart. Remember those coupon codes? Even if a store doesn’t advertise them, you can often find codes online by using your favorite search engine. Make a list of what you’re looking for and try not to deviate. Impulse buying is the fastest way to overspend.

Enjoy the season! The crowds, traffic and fighting for the last must-have toy comes with the territory, and it’s easy to let it spoil your mood. When it starts to bring out the stress, take a breath and remind yourself that this is about Christmas, the birth of Christ, a celebration and a time to give. Fight the urge to become a scrooge, and just enjoy the season.  

Focus on the moments, not the material items. Make the most of this time with your family and friends and make memories. Start a new tradition or continue one you’ve known your whole life. While a new iPhone is great, and it’s fun to get new toys, remember that memories will outlive any material item and make the season more meaningful.

If you would like to learn more about how the credit union can help you, call to set up an appointment. We can schedule a representative to come to your office and answer questions as well as take membership and loan applications.

Not sure what gifts to send this year? Save a trip to the store and the post office. Gift checks are fast, easy and only $2.99 each. To send a gift check, log in to your account on Home Branch and click Bill Pay. Once in Bill Pay, select Payments/Single Payment, then you will see Gift Check in the options on the left. Haven’t used Home Branch yet? Enroll today!