Tips on Saving for the Holidays

credit-cardsIt’s a few months until Christmas, yes, but it’s likely the shopping season has entered your mind at least once.

For good reason: According to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, holiday shoppers planned to shell out an average of $704.18 last year on gifts and seasonal merchandise. That’s a lot of money no matter how you spin it.

Additionally, did you know that 39% of holiday shoppers last year started their purchases before Halloween? Around 40% started in November. Smart shoppers are already budgeting to ensure money doesn’t get too tight when Santa makes a visit. Now’s the time to get your budgets in order before time becomes a factor.

Get started early to save time and money
Don’t let the seasonal rush lead you to impulse buys. Hype causes many to purchase gifts without much thought or consideration to price or practicality. Shop early and be creative. It’s also a better fit for your schedule, as there will be little pressure when December rolls around.

Shop online!
Holiday shoppers spent $37 billion online last year. For good reason — the deals are often better, it saves gas and there’s a wider selection. Did you know that 57% of app users say they would consider purchasing their holiday gifts on a mobile device? See what all the fuss is about. Do some shopping research online and make sure you’re getting the most gift for your money.

Place your bookmarks now on the following websites to ensure you’ll have access to the best possible deals:

Black Friday ads

Buy outside the box store
We all dream of that one special gift that will knock our socks off (and occasionally, that gift is socks). Department stores are still popular, but drug stores and grocery stores are also often great spots to find sleeper hits and occasional lower prices than box stores. Some gifts, like flowers, may be better suited for purchase offline. If you’re a creative type, make gifts that still hold sentimental value.

Save over time!
Looking for help with budgeting? Horizon Bank offers a unique way to save for the holidays. Eliminate frustrations that can come with seasonal expenses by setting aside money each month, or as often as you like, with your Holiday Savings account. The account is free with minimum contributions each month and you can open it at any time. Learn more about holiday savings accounts on our website.

Do you have any early holiday shopping tips? Share them with us on Facebook!