Today’s challenging economy is causing even the most financially secure consumers to be cost-conscious this holiday season. To help consumers avoid credit card debt and an empty wallet, The Provident Bank is offering some cash-saving tips.
“The holidays can be overwhelming and stressful for many people from a financial perspective,” said Chris Martin, president and CEO of The Provident Bank. “Some of that financial strain can be eliminated by following these eight simple steps.”
- Create a budget and stick to it. Gift-giving can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to put you in debt. As a general rule, your total holiday spending should be less than your monthly mortgage or rent payment. After each purchase, track the exact amount that you spent and keep a running total.
- Make a list and check it twice. Write down all the friends and family members for whom you need to purchase gifts. Deciding “who” and “how much” will help control spending.
- Use your debit card. Forget cash. Using a debit card helps you keep a record of what you bought, and gives you an idea of how much money should be budgeted for next holiday season. Many banks offer reward programs for debit card users. For example, Provident’s “Provident Perks” program rewards cardholders with points for each purchase they make with their debit card, as long as they sign the receipt. Points can then be redeemed for exclusive merchandise, travel deals and/or gift cards. Try to steer clear of using a credit card if possible, as many have high annual percentage rates.
- Clip coupons. Go through your Sunday newspaper and clip coupons to help save on your holiday purchases. You also can access printable coupons online for major retailers and supermarkets, and there are many websites that offer discount coupons or promotional codes for online shoppers.
- Browse before you shop. Before heading to the stores, research as much as you can. Search for the best price on the item you are looking for and go online to see if you can find a better deal.
- Give a gift card. You can trust you are giving the perfect present without worrying about picking the right size or color. For example, Provident customers can purchase a Provident Visa® Gift Card in any amount from $10 to $1,000. Keep in mind some cards have “dormancy” fees that kick-in if the card isn’t used by a certain time. Stop by any of Provident’s 81 branches for full details.
- Buy Online. Avoid the stresses of crowded stores and parking lots. If you shop online, you can search faster for deals and compare prices more easily. Plus, many retailers offer free shipping if you order by a certain date. So, you can save yourself time, money and gas.
- Smart Wrapping. How often do you find yourself spending almost as much on the wrapping supplies as you did on the gift? You can keep these costs down by shopping for wrapping paper, gift bags, tape and boxes at a dollar store, reusing or recycling gift bags you received from others, and shopping after-Christmas sales for up to 50 percent off supplies for next year.
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