It’s Almost Halloween, So Let’s Talk Christmas

Football is back, the leaves are changing, and everywhere you look pumpkin spice is taking over. Fall is here, and Halloween is right around the corner!

Clearly, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas and other Winter holidays.

Even if you’re the “Bah, Humbug” type of person who regularly posts Facebook rants about the neighbors putting up their lights before Thanksgiving, making financial plans for the holidays is still a really good idea. It might be too early to hang a stocking, but it’s never too early to sock money away.

Ugh! Why are we even talking about that money now? It’s not even Halloween!

Halloween is exactly why we should make plans now. American spending on Halloween increases annually. We spend about $7 billion on Halloween, including $350 million on costumes for our pets! It’s easy to overspend in October, let that lead into an indulgent Thanksgiving in November, and then find ourselves putting all our December spending onto a high-interest-rate credit card. Planning ahead is a necessary step to prevent you from a holiday hangover in the new year.

How much will I be spending on the holidays?

Studies have pegged the price of the December holidays at roughly $300 per child, while one in 10 shoppers admit to spending over $500 on gifts for their children. Overall, Americans spend about $600 billion on the holidays, which comes out to around $2,000 per person. This includes decorations, food, ugly sweaters and whatever else you tend to buy. That’s a lot of money.

Is it too late to get a head start planning for this year?

Not at all. You have a lot of options to save yourself from your own spending. You can sign up for a Holiday Club account, a money market or a variety of other plans. Call, click or stop by Scott Credit Union for details. But that’s not the only approach. You can also get ahead by opening a Home Equity Line of Credit or transferring the balance on your high-interest credit cards to Scott Credit Union’s low-interest Extreme Visa.

But even all those options don’t represent all the various ways to save money. Remember that holiday spending doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You can combine savings, credit cards and budgeting to attack the holiday from several angles. Start now, and by December you’ll have a well-stocked war chest, or in this case, toy chest, to give you a variety of options.

What about the holidays between now and then?

Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, Americans spend around $150 per person on average. That can add up quickly, especially in larger families. It can also be difficult to tighten the belt at this time of year, because it can mean less candy and less family time for the kids.

If you’re worried about this spending, one way to rein it in is to make a combined holiday budget you pay into every month. Figure out how much you plan to spend on birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and the like, then divide that by 12. That’s how much you need to put away every month.

Does that sound like a lot of money? Then you can cut down all year long. Maybe you don’t need to send birthday gifts to as many people, or your anniversary can be a smaller occasion this year.

The bottom line: If you start planning ahead, you can keep your holiday spending from being an obstacle to your financial future.

More from the Banking Simplified Blog:
Hidden Holiday Costs

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