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6 Tips to Keep Your Money Looking Merry

November 25, 2020

The Holiday season brings thoughts of togetherness and family, delicious food, and gifts. But what happens once Ol’ Saint Nick has come and gone? Many of us are left with a financial hangover come January.

Don’t let the Holiday season send you into a spending spiral, instead follow these tips and focus on necessary and reasonable expenses. Not all tips may apply to you and your family but the theme to save, shop smart, and spend wisely are messages we all need to hear this time of year!

Don’t Spend Your Entire Holiday Bonus

I’m not talking about a Jelly of the Month Club subscription; I’m talking about a little extra cash provided by your employer. This money can go a long way toward added holiday expenses but be sure to also put some toward your financial wellness. This can be any use that will increase your financial health such as paying off high-interest debt or adding to an emergency fund savings account. Financial experts recommend a 70/30 split, with 70% of the bonus going toward seasonal expenses.

Grocery Store Savings

Grocery shopping is expensive. In Atlanta, the average monthly household spends well over $300 on groceries.  Around the holidays this number often skyrockets to account for family and friend gatherings. One way to combat this expense is to make early and gradual food purchases for these seasonal meals. Watch for nonperishable food items to be on sale, like flour, sugar, and chocolate as well as items that can be kept frozen like turkey and ham. Don’t forget about planning Potluck Style meals. This will spread out the grocery costs and make the meal more affordable for you and your guests.

Gift Wrap Money Trap

This might not seem like a huge money saver but cutting out seemingly small line items can add up. In the U.S., $3.2 billion a year is spent on gift wrapping paper. Consider purchasing plain colored paper and/or gift bags that represent the holiday you are celebrating. Doing so will likely cost less than the preprinted paper. Plus, you can personalize your gift by adding your own designs and messages. Also, there is no shame in reusing gift bags that have been given to you. Not only will it cost you less, reusing bags is more friendly to our planet.

Buy those Holiday Decorations in January

This takes some serious resisting, but try to plan holiday decorations a year in advance. Purchase holiday decorations a day or week after Christmas to save big!

Property Taxes

Nothing says Merry Christmas and Happy New Year like property taxes, right? Maybe not, but in the state of Georgia property taxes are due December 20th. If you own your home outright or have a mortgage that does not factor in property taxes this is an end-of-year expense that may catch you by surprise. Make sure to plan for it by putting money aside each paycheck or month.

Volunteer and Give

All this penny-pinching talk can make anyone a real scrooge, but don’t forget to volunteer your time and give donations if able. There are a million and one ways to give around this time of year. SunMark is an official drop-off location for Toys-for-Tots, a charity that strives to provide all children with Christmas gifts. If you would like to help this Holiday season but are not sure how; consider buying a children’s gift and donating to one of the Toys-For-Tots bins located at each of our branches.

We hope these tips can help make you and your family's holiday season the merriest one yet! Happy Holidays!