Creating a Financial Plan for Two

Creating a Financial Plan for Two

Creating a plan with your partner can be beneficial to your finances and your relationship. Money is an essential and emotional part of life. Combining finances can feel like a big step and it’s not one to take lightly (even if you’re getting married). By reading through our quick guide, you’ll learn some pros and cons of sharing accounts, creating a budget for two, when to make purchases together and helpful communication tips.

Pros and Cons of a Joint Account

A joint account is different than say, adding your partner to an existing bank account. A joint account can be established by two people who are married, domestic partners, roommates or whatever the relationship may be. Both people must provide SSN, birthdates, and a photo I.D. when opening the account. (Necessary information will vary by banking institution. Be sure to ask your banking representative what you’ll need.)

Pros and cons will undoubtedly pop up along the way, but these should get you thinking:

  • PRO: Transparency between the couple
  • PRO: Potential for better communication
  • PRO: Secure; two pairs of eyes on the account
  • CON: Could be troublesome if relationship ends
  • CON: Entering account with unequal debts/assets
  • CON: Could be difficult if it’s the only account you both have

To avoid uncomfortable or stressful conversations, discuss all pros and cons with your partner before creating a joint account and as soon as they arise afterwards.

Budgeting for Two

If you’ve followed our previous advice then you most likely have a monthly budget that helps keep you on track. When considering combining finances and accounts with your partner, you should adjust your budget accordingly.

Things to consider when adjusting a budget for two people:

  • Are you splitting bills equally or by a percentage of your income?
  • Who will be responsible for getting the bills paid every month?
  • Will you tackle debts (ex. student loans) together or individually?
  • What are your values, goals, and feelings around money?
  • How will you react when your partner makes a purchase without discussing it?

When making a budget for more than one person, there are more factors to consider. Talk about money, income, debts, bills, etc. with your partner on a regular basis so that you’re always on the same page.

Short and Long-term Goals

Whether or not you’ve decided to create a joint account together, you should definitely talk about finances and define your short and long-term goals both together and as individuals.

Short-term goals may include paying off credit card debt or medical expenses, saving up for a new car, or looking for a new job that has a higher salary.

Long-term goals may include deciding how much and how often to set money aside for an emergency fund and savings account, how much to contribute to retirement accounts, saving for a mortgage down payment or starting a family.

Whatever your goals may be, make sure to discuss a plan of action together—even if you’re tackling some things on your own.

Making Purchases

We don’t mean the occasional gas station candy bar or afternoon coffee. We’re talking about bigger purchases that will more greatly affect the both of you such as paying off a large debt, buying a car, or opening a line of credit.

If you’re thinking of making a purchase, consider this:

  • Is the interest rate better together or separate?
  • Are you approved for a loan by yourself?
  • Can you be approved for more money if you apply together?
  • Can you handle the monthly payment alone? Have you created a payment plan together?
  • How will this purchase affect your budget and goals?

If one of you already has a lot of debt but needs to make a purchase, it might make sense to purchase together or as a co-signer or co-borrower. When combining finances with your partner, you want the both of you to succeed. However, your finances and money goals should be balanced so that one person doesn’t feel as though they’re doing all the heavy lifting.

Communication Strategies

Money is one of the most common reasons for disagreements within a relationship. To prevent misunderstandings from arising (they still may come up from time-to-time which is normal), always be willing to have open and honest discussions together. Talking about money is necessary if you both want to stay aligned financially.

Here are a few important tips to help with communication:

  • Set clear expectations and boundaries
  • Make decisions together
  • Talk about debts and assets often
  • Discuss spending and saving habits
  • Describe your relationship with money to each other
  • Have a plan for big life changes before they happen (buying a home, having kids, going back to school)

 

Talking about money can be difficult especially if you’ve never talked about it together before. To benefit your finance goals and your relationship, practice patience and understanding with each other and talk about money on a consistent basis.

 

 

 

Sources: Forbes, The Balance, MoneyUnder30

Scam Alert: Protect Your Accounts

Scam Alert: current scam impersonating banks aims to steal your money

Never provide personal or sensitive information over a text, email or phone call.

Scammers are impersonating banks and using fake emails, texts and phone calls in an attempt to steal your money.

A new form of scam has recently included Maine-based banks and is seeking personal information including debit card CVV code, account numbers and Social Security Numbers in an attempt to take over and drain your accounts of money.

These scams include a combination of text messages, emails and/or phone calls. These scams have contacted people pretending to be a bank or a bank’s “fraud department” with messages about suspicious activity on your account, failed purchase activity, or that your account has been locked.

This is a scam. Your bank will never contact you seeking personal or sensitive information.

The Federal Trade Commission advises that if you get a suspicious message from “your bank” that you do not click any links, do not return a call to the phone number provided, and never give your account number. Disconnect from the conversation immediately, call your bank directly, and then report it to the authorities.

Just Say No

Protect your accounts and information. Never give the following information to an unconfirmed source. If you are contacted and asked to provide any of the following information, disconnect and call us immediately at (207) 782-6871 or toll free at (888) 282-7287.

  • Debit card CVV number
  • Debit card PIN
  • Social Security number
  • Log in information including usernames or passwords

Anyone can fall victim to scams, identity theft or fraud but knowing what to look out for and how to protect your personal and private information can reduce your risk. At Auburn Savings, your security is our priority.

 

For more information on how you can protect yourself from scams, visit our fraud prevention page

 

How You Can Start Saving Today

How You Can Start Saving Today

Saving money. It’s something we all know we should do, but how many of us are actually doing it? Whether it’s for an emergency fund, a future purchase or trip, or financial security, we all should be saving. So why aren’t we and how do we start?

The Federal Reserve Reports that 39% of Americans don’t have enough money on hand to cover a $400 emergency. That’s a pretty big deal if your furnace breaks in the dead of winter and you need to purchase a new one or pay to get it fixed. You could pay for it on a credit card, but remember that you’ll be charged interest on the payment until it is paid off, adding even more cost than the original amount. The best bet? Pay with cash. But to do so, you’ll need to have money saved up.

The standard recommendation is that every adult have enough money saved to cover a minimum of three months of essential living expenses. Ideally, it should be six months, but let’s not overwhelm ourselves. That’s electricity, food, water, gas—everything you need to survive. Without savings available, this could be devastating.

What’s an easy way to start saving money?

The solution to getting started saving can be found jingling in your pocket, lost between couch cushions, or on top of a bedside table: spare change. If you rounded up to the nearest dollar with every purchase you made and stashed the change away in savings, you could be on your way to meeting that standard recommendation of three months expenses faster than you think.

Let’s say you make an average of 5 purchases in a typical day.

  • Coffee: $3.05
  • Lunch: $14.24
  • Snack: $4.15
  • Gas: $40.62
  • Groceries: $60.20

By rounding up to the nearest dollar, the change leftover from those purchases is:

  • Change from coffee: $.95
  • Change from lunch: $.76
  • Change from snack: $.85
  • Change from gas: $.38
  • Change from groceries: $.80

The total of which is $3.74. Now, if you rounded up to the nearest dollar on those five purchases every day, you’re walking away with:

  • $26.18 a week
  • $112.20 a month
  • $1,365.10 a year!

And that’s just on five everyday, mundane purchases. Imagine if you did that on all your purchases, including monthly bills, big online purchases, daycare?

But let’s be honest, not many of us pay in cash and get change in return. So, although the idea of a change jar is a great idea for collecting those few and far between cash purchases, it’s not going to work for the 80% of Americans that prefer card payments over cash. Most of us need a digital coin jar.

How can I save without using cash?

Here’s where a “round up” account, like Auburn Savings new Simple Change Savings, comes into play. With a round up account, you can have the “spare change” from purchases made with your debit card be automatically deposited into a savings or checking account. So that $3.74 a day? It builds up without you even having to think about it! You can check your daily round ups online or on your monthly statement and watch as it grows without ever having to lift a finger (except to enter your PIN on the card reader).

The biggest obstacle most people have to saving is simply getting started. The truth is, once you realize an easy way to incorporate it into your financial routine the easier it becomes, and watching that money build up over time is great incentive to continue.

 

Click here for more information on our Simple Plan Savings account and how it could help you start saving today.

 

Sources: Federal Reserve

Fundera

 

How can I cut energy costs during winter?

How can I cut energy costs during winter?


Let’s face it, sometimes it feels as though we’re willing to pay anything not to be cold on long winter days. Unfortunately, spending money outside of your budget is the number one way to derail financial plans and future goals. We understand that life can’t always be planned (example: your entire family is currently at home all the time), but when we adopt smarter habits now it can help prevent surprises such as large utility bills later on. Try these simple habits to keep energy costs down without sacrificing your savings.

  • Don’t fuss with the thermostat. Make it a habit to lower the thermostat before you go to bed or when leaving the house for an extended period of time. If you can, invest in a smart thermostat. These can be programmed to lower the heat during sleeping hours or when you’re not home to help keep costs low and reduce energy consumption.
  • Get moving. Bundled up and still cold? Jog up and down the stairs, do fifteen jumping jacks, or stretch your body for ten minutes. We tend to move less when hunkered down for the winter, so this warms us up without cranking the heat.
  • Check your doors and windows. If your windows are older or single pane, you can cover them in plastic to prevent drafts. You can also add weather stripping to all of your doors and windows to stop warm air from escaping.
  • Keep shower times low. We get it—a hot shower on a frigid day sounds like the perfect way to warm up, but it can be wasteful and costly. It’s best to take a shorter shower and then quickly bundle up.
  • Create a Winter Cash Stash. We don’t always know how much heating oil, gas or firewood we may need or how long and cold the winter months might be. By setting some money aside throughout the year, we can rest assured that our family will be warm and cozy all winter—no matter how long it lasts.
  • Only heat the rooms you use. Block off unused rooms such as your attic, an enclosed porch or entry ways. You can keep energy use lower when the square footage of your living space is smaller.
  • Use space heaters cautiously. While space heaters can be a great alternative, some require a lot of wattage which may bump up your electric bill. Use space heaters sparingly and always when you can monitor them.
  • Leave the door open. If you’ve just cooked a meal or baked cookies, leave the oven door open after shutting it off. That residual heat can warm up your kitchen, dining room or adjacent rooms.

 

While these suggestions may not save thousands of dollars, they certainly can help reduce energy costs and consumption. Remember, these changes will only work if your entire household is on board. Let all family members know that keeping energy costs low helps your family stay within budget all year long.

 

 

 

Auburn Savings Donates to L/A Veterans Council

Auburn Savings Donates to L/A Veterans Council

 

Auburn Savings recently presented a donation check in the amount of $1,000 to the Lewiston/Auburn Veterans Council. This donation contributed toward a $6,500 goal to build a Vietnam memorial in Veterans Park in Lewiston. Auburn Savings President & CEO Bill Tracy presented L/A Veterans Council member and spokesperson for the project Charlie Paul with the donation on behalf of the bank.

Auburn Savings supports many local non-profits and fundraising drives; the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial seemed an obvious effort for the bank to support. “We are honored to provide this donation to a much-deserved cause that not only benefits the veteran community, but the entire L/A community,” said Bill Tracy, President and CEO of Auburn Savings. “We have a responsibility to acknowledge our veterans and the sacrifices they’ve made. This project will recognize so many and will bring in visitors from all over Maine. We’re very proud to support Mr. Paul, the L/A Veterans Council and this project.”

On receiving Auburn Savings’ donation, Mr. Paul said that it “knocked him off his chair.” He added that, “Auburn Savings’ involvement is something I will treasure forever because it gives validity to what I’m trying to do.” Paul spearheaded this project after observing that the community did not have a memorial dedicated to those who served in the Vietnam War. He hopes to reach his goal and have the monument created and established in time for Veterans Day on November 11, 2021 complete with a ceremony. “I don’t have enough words to say how absolutely overwhelmed I am by this level of support from Auburn Savings,” said Paul.

Auburn Savings is proud to support LA Veterans Council and the work they’re doing to educate and engage the public and honor all veterans and their families in the community. Donations can be made at both Auburn Savings locations.

Great Things Are Coming to Auburn Savings Bank

Great Things Are Coming to Auburn Savings Bank

 

Auburn Savings has begun preparations to update our banking software platform planned to take place this October. This update will be happening on the backend of Auburn Savings’ banking system, but you may experience some changes in online banking, account statements and ATM usage during the transition.

Why are we updating?
We are updating our system to take advantage of newer technology that will help us become more efficient and to serve our community’s banking needs better. This will allow us to perform our jobs more effectively, giving you a better banking experience overall.

What is going to change for me?
With the system update, we will be able to offer some new products and services. Online and mobile banking will have a new, streamlined look. This new look will help to keep navigation consistent so what you see, we will see, making it easier for us to assist you when you have questions. Although there will be some minor changes needed to take place and things will look a little different, we are confident you will appreciate the simplicity of this state-of-the-art banking software. Stay tuned for more details!

What should I do today?
The system update is planned for early October 2020. You’re not required to take any actions today, but we ask that you keep an eye on your mailbox (electronic and postal) for further communications and next steps, or visit our informational page.

 

We’re excited to implement these changes for a better and more efficient, exciting way to bank with us. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at either location!

Free coloring pages, games and activities!

Free coloring pages, games and activities!

 

We believe that teaching kids to be responsible with money now pays off later in life. Learning to be responsible savers and spenders begins with education and it’s never too early to start. By teaching your children about money and real-world money situations, you’re helping them build a solid foundation for their financial future.

Parents and teachers work so hard to keep their children learning in the classroom. In an effort to help educate the next generation of responsible savers and spenders, we’ve developed new resources to help with math and money skills at home. These activities can help minimize the summer gap, retain learning, and keep your children on track for the next school year and beyond.

 

You can find our KidsPlus resources and activities here.

 

auburn savings mobile banking

Is My Money Safe in the Bank?

Is My Money Safe in the Bank?

It’s difficult to be prepared for every emergency situation that may arise. Amidst panic and crisis, people sometimes withdraw large amounts of cash from the bank as a way to prepare themselves for the unknown. Is this the right thing to do? Or is your money safest in the bank?

The answer: in the bank. In fact, experts are arguing that it’s safest in the bank—and we agree. Bank deposits and balances up to $250,000 per depositor are insured and protected by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). This insurance is applicable to each account you own whether it is a checking account, savings account, or certificate of deposit (CD).

Let’s talk about a few money options people tend to think about during a crisis situation:

Withdrawing Cash

While having some cash on hand for emergencies is reasonable, there’s no need to empty your bank account. If your money is not in your bank account, it’s no longer insured by the FDIC nor is it accruing interest, which is a great (and easy) financial investment.

Note: While it’s still okay to use cash these days, be cautious and always wash your hands after handling.

Retirement Accounts

This account is your future financial security. There will naturally be ups and downs in the market; however, like your bank accounts, withdrawing funds will diminish your investment, and not protect it. Keep calm and continue to contribute to your 401(K) if financially able to do so.

Electronic Banking

Your financial needs are a top priority every day, including during emergencies. Electronic services such as online banking, mobile deposit and digital payment apps (such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and PayPal) are highly encouraged if banking hours or limitations on lobby hours are restricted.

 

What Should I Do?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your money during times of uncertainty:

  • Keep contributing to your 401K or other retirement accounts
  • Continue building your savings and emergency accounts
  • Evaluate your budget, focusing on your daily and monthly financial needs

 

Dealing with an emergency or crisis situation is stressful. You shouldn’t have to worry about your bank accounts too. It may seem counterintuitive, but take this time to be appreciative of what you do have—an emergency fund, a savings account, a retirement account and a flexible budget to see you through a difficult time.

During this time of uncertainty, we want you to know that we are here. The financial security of our customers is of the utmost importance to all of us at Auburn Savings. If over the next six months you find you are struggling or concerned about your finances, call us. We are a community bank and we are ready to serve you.

 

Source: fdic.gov, Forbes.com, vice.com, bankrate.com

COVID-19 Update – Your Health & Your Money

COVID-19 Update – Your Health & Your Money

March 24, 2020 Update

During this time of uncertainty, we want you to know that we are here. The
financial security of our customers is of the utmost importance to all of us at
Auburn Savings. If over the next six months you find you are struggling or
concerned about your finances, call us. We are a community bank. We
care. And we can help.

Know that we’ve been here serving our community since 1887 and that has
not and will not change. We have lived through times of instability before.
Auburn Savings is up, running, and fully operational. While our branch
lobbies are open to customers via appointment only, our Drive Thru is open
Monday – Saturday and we have plenty of digital banking solutions such as
online banking, telephone banking and mobile deposit so you can bank
from home.

Most importantly, if you call us, we will answer. And we want you to reach
out. We are ready to serve.

March 17, 2020 Update

Due to the CDC recommendations for social distancing, both our
Auburn and Lewiston lobby will be accessible by appointment only. To
make an appointment, please call 207-782-6871 (Auburn) or 207-782-
0400 (Lewiston).

Protecting our clients, staff and your investment is our priority. We
have multiple ways you can access your accounts from the comfort of
your home where you can pay bills, view your account balances,
transfer funds, view transactions, and much more.

March 13, 2020 Update

We realize COVID-19 is a growing concern. For weeks we have been
closely monitoring the reports and information provided by the Centers
for Disease Control (CDC), and we continue to do so. We continue to
remind our team about the things each one of us can do to stop the
spread of germs.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose & mouth.
• Wash your hands frequently.
• Cover your cough or sneeze.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces.
• Stay at home if you are sick.

These are practical steps that we all need to take each and every flu
season, and especially now, to limit exposure and help keep us all
healthy.

In addition, we have multiple ways you can access your accounts from
the comfort of your home. Our digital banking solutions include online
banking, telephone banking, and mobile deposit. With these access
points you can pay bills, view your account balances, transfer funds,
view transactions, and much more. If you haven’t signed up to use
these services, sign up today at auburnsavings.com. Our mobile app
is available on Google Play and in the Apple App store. Your available
cash can be accessed 24/7 at our branch ATMs, or at a MoneyPass
or SUM Network ATM, with no charge.

Know that we have contingency plans in place to avoid the complete
disruption of services. Please feel free to call us with any questions at
1-888-282-7287, or one of the local branch numbers. All of us
working together to follow the recommendations of the CDC will help
reduce the spread of this disease. Let’s keep our community healthy!

Auburn Savings - tax time

Tax Time: Get File Ready

Auburn Savings - tax timeTax Time: Get File Ready

It’s that time of year again! Tax season gets a bad rap but that may be because people are unsure of how to document personal finances when it comes to submitting annual taxes.

To make it easier for you, we’ve created recommendations to get you feeling ready and capable when it comes time to file.

1. Your Personal Info

This may seem obvious, but it’s super important to getting started. For a refresher, grab last year’s federal and state tax returns. Did you need any documents last year that you’ll need again this year? Make sure you have social security numbers for yourself, your spouse (if you’re married and filing a joint return), and any dependents you may have.

2. Maximize Your IRA and HSA Contributions

You have until the filing date of April 15 to open or contribute to a traditional IRA for the taxable year. That means if you are filing for your 2019 taxes in April of 2020, your contribution counts toward your 2019 taxes and can lower your taxable income. You can also make sure deposits into an HSA account reach the allowable limit for the previous year, which should reduce tax liability. Be sure to consult a tax professional to make sure you meet requirements for contributions.

3. Income Records

You are required to file your taxes if your income exceeds $12,200 for a single filer, and $24,400 for a married joint filer. Gather all W-2 forms that document your income for the 2019 year. Remember your spouse’s forms, if filing together. Employers must have these sent out by January 31 and will be sent by postal mail or electronically. Additionally, you’ll need any 1099 forms as well. Here’s a list of popular ones:

  • 1099-MISC for contract work
  • 1099-K for third party income payments (like PayPal)
  • 1099-T for educational transactions (tuition, fees)
  • 1099-E for paying interest on student loans

 

Pro Tip: File your taxes early, so you have the time to find all possible deductions.

4. Check Deductions + Credits

Deductions reduce your taxable income while credits reduce the amount of taxes that you owe. They affect your taxes differently, yet both could mean a higher refund! Check back to last year’s tax returns. Do the same credits and deductions apply? Don’t forget these ones:

  • Property taxes and mortgage interest
  • Educations expenses (tuition, fees, interest on loans)
  • Retirement account contributions
  • Donations to charity

5. Life Changes

Did anything, ahem, life changing happen in 2019? Did you buy or sell a home, get married or have a baby? These big moments may alter your taxes. For instance, if you file with your married name and didn’t legally file for a name change, your tax return could be rejected. Bummer! Growing your family, on the other hand, allows for tax credits of $2,000 per child, significantly raising your return. Winning! Other life changes include accepting a promotion at work, being granted an inheritance, or experiencing a death in the family (particularly your spouse).

 

Now you’re more prepared to file your taxes! Whichever way you file—by paper, e-filing, or with a tax preparer—the deadline is April 15, 2020. If the thought of doing your taxes stresses you out, take a deep breath. Look over the checklist. And know that you’ll be gaining more confidence and ownership of your financial situation.

 

Auburn Savings Bank does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be taken as tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult a qualified tax professionals before engaging in any transaction. Source: nerdwallet.com, irs.gov, turbotax.intuit.com

New Year, New (Financially-Savvy) You!

New Year, New (Financially-Savvy) You!

The start of a new year is an ideal time to reflect on your finances. Have you been spending too much, earning too little, or need help planning for your future? We’re here to help you navigate the year with confidence and financial know-how with six steps to creating a financial plan for 2020 and beyond.

Draft a Budget

We’re enthusiastic supporters of following a budget to keep your bills paid and your expenses transparent. When drafting your budget, keep in mind that it will be different for every person depending on lifestyle, debts, and income. A budget keeps you in control of your finances, should be updated regularly, and should be flexible for life’s surprises. Here are some tips to create a budget.

Track Expenses

The key to following a budget once its created is tracking your day-to-day expenses. Whichever method works for you, do that. A financial tracker app, pen and paper, whatever it is, just write every single transaction down. This helps you see exactly where your money is spent and where you can cut costs, if needed.

Pro Tip: Try a “spending fast” for 30 days to see where you spend the most and where you can cut costs.

Eliminate Debt

Consumer debt has reached 14 trillion dollars in the United States. Yikes! Some debts are investments—mortgages, student loans, business loans—but some weaken your financial health (medical bills, credit card debt, and payday loans). You can have a budget and track your expenses carefully, but you won’t be able to reach your goals if you’re carrying debts. Try the debt snowball method, where you pay off the smallest balance first and then move on to the next smallest and so on until all of your debts are paid off. Another effective method is to pay balances with the highest interest rates first.

Write Down Goals

This is your “why” and is important when creating your financial plan. Without having goals in mind, you’re less likely to make a budget, track expenses, and pay off debts. Take some time and ask yourself, “What do I want?” Maybe it’s a new car, your first home, college tuition, starting a family, or saving for retirement. All of these goals will need a solid financial plan to help guide you to your goal.

Build an Emergency Fund

The size of your emergency fund will depend on your lifestyle and your income. However, you should be able to cover a considerable expense. A good starting balance is $1,000. This is not the same as your savings account and will help cover costs such as a home or car repair. Once you’ve established $1,000 work to have 3-6 months’ worth of expenses saved up. Think of this as an emergency-emergency fund for if you lose your job or become ill or injured. It will cover your bills for a few months until you’re back on your feet.

Save, save, save!

So, you’ve paid off debts, built an emergency fund, and got clear on your goals. Great! Now is the time to be diligent, patient, and save like you’ve never saved before. Financial experts say that saving 20% of your income each month is ideal. If that number is too high, start where you can, whether it’s 1% or $1. Remember: every little bit adds up.

 

The Takeaway:

  • Draft a Budget
  • Track Your Expenses
  • Eliminate Debt
  • Write Down Goals
  • Build an Emergency Fund
  • Save, save, save!

Creating a financial plan will help with more than just your financial situation. It will also help you to get clear on your life goals and will teach you valuable lessons on spending and saving. Need help getting started? We’re happy to help—it’s kind of our thing.

 

Source: thebalance.com, nerdwallet.com

3 Steps to Reducing Financial Holiday Stress

3 Steps to Reducing Financial Holiday Stress

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like… the most stressful time of the year? Let’s face it, along with the sparkling lights and boughs of holly, the holidays can be hard on the wallet. With traveling, attending fundraisers, gift giving for the whole family—it can become overwhelming. We’re here to make you feel more at ease so you can enjoy the season. Grab some figgy pudding and relax by the fire with these three steps to keeping financial holiday stress to a minimum.

Reconsider Your Spending
Think about your family’s values, traditions and expectations around the holiday season. Why do you celebrate the way that you do? If you grew up with the expectation of buying gifts for every family member, maybe it’s time to suggest a new way, such as Secret Santa or a Yankee Swap game. Also, consider your spending habits on other items such as drinks, meals, and decorations for all of the events you plan on attending. Can you save money by baking cookies instead of buying from a bakery, or making decorations by hand instead of store bought? Any opportunity to save will be beneficial. As they say, every little bit counts.

Shift Your Mindset
Rethink your traditions of the season: gift giving, visiting family, attending parties. Perhaps it aligns more with your family’s values if you spend more time with loved ones instead of money on gifts. Doing festive activities together is a great way to enjoy the holidays without overspending. Go sledding, build a snowman, sing carols—whatever it is that gets you and your family into the holiday spirit—do more of that. Memories made together can be more valuable than a wrapped gift.

In 2018, the average American spent $885 per person on holiday gifts—yikes!

Don’t Feel Pressured
Families have a way of keeping to their traditions through the generations, even when families grow and life changes. Set clear boundaries with your extended family before the holiday season starts. Explain when you’ll be able to visit, how long you’ll be able to stay in town, and how much you can spend on gifts. If you’ve had to manage dozens of family get-togethers every year to make everyone else happy, maybe it’s time to change it up and start a new tradition—one that makes you feel more at peace with the season.

 

The Takeaway:

  • Reconsider Your Spending
  • Change Your Mindset
  • Don’t Feel Pressured

Spending money isn’t the only way to celebrate the holiday season with your family. But by putting small amounts of money aside now with our Christmas Club Account, you can keep your holiday stress levels low for the next twelve months. Learn more here.

 

Source: Investopedia.com, lifehack.org, americasaves.org