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How To Financially Prepare for the Holiday Season

A woman sitting down, budgeting in a notebook and typing in a calculator, surrounded by Christmas presents with money on the table

As we approach the end of the year, the focus starts to shift to celebrations and everything else that comes with the holiday season. Stores will become crowded, weekends will fill up with parties and gatherings, and quality time spent with family will be abundant. However, the holidays would not be complete without the added stress of planning, shopping, and traveling.

There are so many things to prepare and purchase during this time of year: Flights must be booked, food needs to be prepared, and gifts need to be purchased. With all these added expenses that pop up during this time of year, it’s easy for things to get lost in the shuffle of the season without a solid plan in place. Luckily, here at Landmark National Bank, we want to offer advice on how to save yourself some money during the holidays.

Ways To Save Money This Holiday Season

Whether you are the one hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah, or you’re the one traveling to all the parties, there are some expenses to plan for and keep in mind. When you host a party, you will be taking frequent trips to the grocery store each week for food and decorations that will start to take a toll on your wallet. To help you not take a huge hit all at the same time, try purchasing non-perishables a little at a time so you aren’t buying everything all at once.

If you have family in other parts of the country or in other countries altogether, you will have to worry about the high price of plane tickets. Anyone who has ever had to travel during the holidays knows how expensive it can be. One way to save is to buy your tickets before the end of October. Holiday tickets are much cheaper during this time than they are in November and December. The sooner you purchase your tickets, the better off you are.

However, even if you save on food and plane tickets, buying gifts for everyone in your family is still fairly costly. Setting a budget, saving on electric costs, and getting creative with your gifts can help you not break the bank this holiday season.

Set a Gift Budget

The most important rule is to set a gift budget early. However, it can be hard to know how much to spend on Christmas gifts. Many recommend spending $50 to $100 on family and $20 to $50 on friends. However, this all depends on your budget and how much you can realistically spend without dipping into savings or sacrificing on essentials. Make a list at the start of November of how many people you have to buy for, and then determine a budget from there.

Cut Down on Electric Costs

One of the biggest drains on your wallet during the winter months is your electricity bill. While this cost is unavoidable, there are some ways you can save money on your electric bill in the winter while still keeping warm. Some things to check around your home include:

  • Make sure your vents aren’t covered by furniture
  • Check the insulation
  • Weatherstrip your doors and windows
  • Make sure your ceiling fans are spinning clockwise
  • Don’t leave doors or windows open

You can also utilize a smart thermostat so you can set it at a lower temperature while no one is in your home. Unplugging appliances and electronics while they aren’t in use can cut down on energy costs as well. Lastly, make sure to put Christmas lights on a timer to avoid accidentally leaving them on all night and wasting energy.

Get Creative With Gifts

The last thing you can do to save a bit of cash is get creative with gift-giving this year. If you are particularly crafty, DIY your gifts for friends and family. A personalized gift will hold much more meaning than something bought from a store. You can also suggest a Secret Santa with your friend group so you are only buying one gift rather than a bunch. There are plenty of ways to still gift your friends something nice and meaningful without spending too much.

Set Your Holiday Budget at Landmark National Bank

There is no need to go into debt due to holiday expenses. At Landmark National Bank, we want to set you up for success. Our savings accounts allow you to earn interest on your money so you can save even more this holiday season. Or, open a Smart Money or Signature checking account to earn interest on your everyday spending money. Open an account at your local Landmark National Bank today!

The Best Time To Buy Christmas Gifts

A woman sits next to a Christmas tree and wrapped presents, with a laptop on her lap, entering numbers from a credit card

The holidays are a season full of joy and magic. However, the most wonderful time of the year can also wreak havoc on your savings if you’re not careful. Once you’ve bought presents for family and friends, decorations, food, and new pajamas for everyone, you may look at your credit card statement and cringe. Thankfully, Landmark National Bank is here with tips on the best time to buy Christmas presents or presents for any other winter holiday.

When To Buy Christmas Gifts

There’s no single best time to buy Christmas presents, but there is a worst time: the day before Christmas. By that point, retail shelves will have been mercilessly picked over and left barren. Plus, you’re unlikely to find the best deals right before the holiday. Instead, start your holiday shopping early—the beginning of November at the latest. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to watch and wait for the best deals to pop up. Just make sure you have a good place to hide them, away from any prying eyes!

How To Find Christmas Gift Deals

It’s not hard to find great deals on Christmas gifts—most of the time, stores will send them right to you. Most online stores have some sort of free club, membership, or newsletter you can join with just an email address. These brands will then send you information on the specials they’re running, coupon codes you can use, and some sites will even give you free shipping just for signing up. You can even create a new email address just for these coupons, so they don’t clog up your inbox.

Black Friday Christmas Gift Deals

One important day to mark on your calendar for some of the best Christmas gift bargain hunting is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. This shopping “holiday” has become so popular these days that it’s begun to creep into Thanksgiving itself, with many Black Friday deals now starting early Thursday evening. When Black Friday shopping, it’s a good idea to go in with a game plan. If you just show up at the mall to look around, you probably won’t find the best deals. Instead, do your research. Look up your favorite brands and their Black Friday specials so you know exactly where to go and when. Black Friday can be a great time to get great deals on higher-ticket items like TVs and appliances.

Cyber Monday Christmas Gift Deals

Cyber Monday, which began in 2005, is the internet’s answer to Black Friday. You won’t find Cyber Monday deals in stores, but the internet is full of them, many times extending into an entire “Cyber Week.” This massive online shopping holiday takes place the Monday after Thanksgiving, but most online stores will announce their deals well in advance. If you find a Cyber Monday deal that sticks out to you, copy the URL of the item and paste it into a document on your computer so you’ll remember exactly how to get there. If you’re a mobile phone shopper, text the link to yourself or save it in a note so you can find it quickly when Cyber Monday comes.

Homemade Christmas Gifts

If you’re on a strict budget this holiday season, remember that gifts don’t have to be expensive to be meaningful. If you have time to spare, consider making a homemade Christmas gift for your loved ones. If you’re a crafty type of person, you could crochet a scarf or blanket or stitch together a pillow. If you’re an avid baker, a tray of cookies or pan of fudge is never unwelcome. If you want to spoil your spouse or partner without breaking the bank, you could make a scrapbook of your relationship or take them to look at the prettiest Christmas lights.

Save Money for the Holidays With Landmark National Bank

However you choose to save money this holiday season, Landmark National Bank can help. Our personal savings accounts make it easy to save money for Christmas presents, and our personal checking accounts make purchases quick and easy, with access to a Landmark Visa debit card and perks like free online banking and e-statements. Shop for the best holiday bargains around with Landmark National Bank!