Holiday Fun Under the Sun
Aug 17, 2022
It may seem strange to think of winter holiday shopping during hot summer months, but there’s actually no better time to prepare for the cooler season. The holidays traditionally take place during the most expensive months of the year, and a little advance footwork can help you enjoy that special time with less stress, fewer debts, and festivities that have been … well-spent!
BENEFITS OF SHOPPING EARLY
While the movies often portray shoppers as merrymakers joyfully hauling gift-wrapped packages through glittering stores, the truth is not always so jolly. Crowds, costs, bad weather, rushing, and availability of prized gifts all add up to a lot of stress. Start now to avoid the hassles and relax when the holidays roll around.
Starting early on your holiday shopping benefits you in many ways:
- It’s budget-friendly. You’ll have more time to selectively purchase and then pay off each debt. Why strain your credit card when you can plan ahead and control your balance?
- Beat the “sold out” signs. With global supply chain issues affecting deliveries, you’ll increase your odds for finding that perfect gift. Those who wait may be waiting until next year.
- Shop in comfort. More shoppers are purchasing online than ever before. Make the best use of this service by allowing time for delivery.
- Take time to compare. When you don’t have to rush, you can take advantage of sales and deals that will make your wallet shout, “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!”
- Devote your energy to fun. Instead of rushing around when the season does arrive, you can spend more time celebrating it with friends and family. Party, anyone?
BUDGETING FOR HOLIDAY EXPENDITURES
For most of us, holiday expenses go way beyond the gifts we buy. Party supplies and food costs can add up. Also, the holidays are the busiest time of year for air travel. Even if you don’t take a plane, you might be paying for automobile costs, lodging, entertainment and pet or child care. It can add up fast.
Take these quick steps to prepare:
- Make plans. If you don’t know what you’ll be doing over the holidays, now is the time to reach out and strategize the season. Proposals for get-togethers and activities can be tentative but having any kind of plan will help you budget for those good times.
- Create lists. Jot down every cost you think will be involved. Transportation, food, gifts, lodging, activities, entertainment, etc., all add up to a solid number that you can anticipate.
- Add a buffer. Emergencies happen and they can be more expensive if they happen while you’re traveling. Protect your financial well-being with some extra funds for whatever emergency might occur.
- Save it up. You may have already set up a Holiday Savings Club account at Honda FCU. Funds become available on November 1, so you know you’ll have the money when the time is right. Ask an associate about this and other helpful savings accounts.
SAVE MONEY ON HOLIDAY TRIPS BY BOOKING EARLY
A little preliminary groundwork can send you packing with extra cash in your wallet.
Consider these cost-effective ideas:
- Changing Planes. You can buy cheaper air tickets early with less worry. In the past, frugal plane tickets were risky — if you had to change your plans, you couldn’t change your tickets, too. A silver lining to the pandemic is that many major U.S. airlines have stopped charging change fees on domestic and some international flights. You’ll still have to pay the difference if you change to a more expensive ticket. Be aware that it is not the same as having a “refundable” ticket, which still costs extra. A nonrefundable ticket remains unless the airline cancels a flight.
- Travel Protection. Travel insurance policies can be expensive, so it’s valuable to find out if your credit card offers any free forms of travel protection, including trip cancellation or interruption coverage. You might be covered for an accident or even emergency evacuation. This generally doesn’t cover you for canceling a trip due to the pandemic, but if you get sick with the virus or governmental lockdowns prevent you from travel, you may be covered. It’s worth checking with your financial institution before buying your tickets.
- Booking the Best. Some popular travel deals sell out quickly. The longer you wait, the fewer choices you’ll have in tours and lodging. Take advantage of the extra months to read travel blogs, social media recommendations, travel guides, magazines and more so you can find the best deals before they’re gone.
Perhaps the best part about handling your holiday preparations early is all the time it will allow you to anticipate the delights of the season. That’s a gift you’re giving to yourself!