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3 Ways to Create a Holly Jolly Holiday Budget

This budgeting strategy can help you avoid a holiday spending hangover.

Don Milne Oct 4, 2018

According to the American Research Group, the average household spends around $1,000 for gifts during the holiday season. Another study noted that a quarter of people overspend on Christmas and another quarter don’t have a budget, so they don’t know how much they spend.

In other words, half of us either have no clue what we spend, or we spend more than we can afford. Giving can be great fun, but it’s no fun to pay extra interest because you can’t pay off your credit cards in full come January.

Here are three budgeting tips to help you have a jolly holiday that keeps you in the green and out of the red.

Budgeting tip #1: Have an OnCard Christmas

The recently released OnCard, exclusively from Zions Bank, is a pre-paid reloadable debit card with some cutting-edge features. You link it to your Zions Bank checking account so you can easily load funds to the OnCard. When it comes time to do your Christmas shopping, you transfer funds from your checking account to your OnCard.

OnCard can be used anywhere that accepts Visa so you can shop at your favorite local and online stores. You’ll receive regular emails that report where you are spending your money and how much you have left. When you reach the limit of the funds you have transferred to your OnCard, the card won’t work anymore until more funds are added. This feature should help cut back on overspending.

Budgeting tip #2: Pay for Christmas with your 50 percent raise

Many people get paid every other week. This means that two months of the year you get three paychecks, which amounts to a 50 percent increase in compensation that month. Since you have to live on two paychecks for each of the other 10 months of the year, why not do the same for those two months with extra paychecks?

That should free up big dollars that can be used to reduce debt, pay for insurance, save up for vacations and set aside money to fund Christmas. November 2018 is one of those months with an extra Friday so you might find yourself with three paychecks. If that is you, you should have enough to pay for Christmas, easily.

Budgeting tip #3: Hide money from yourself

If you don’t get paid every other week you need another strategy to save up enough money for Christmas. If your money is just sitting in your checking account it is too easy to use to spend on other things. You need a way to hide this money from yourself.

OnCard can help with that, too. Let’s look ahead to Christmas 2019. Let’s say you want to save up $1,200 for your spending on gifts. For each of 12 months transfer $100 from checking to your OnCard. Select “Add Money” then choose “Reserve.” The funds will be stored on your OnCard but will not show as available to spend. When it is time to spend for the 2019 holidays you can pull the funds out of reserve and spend them for Christmas.

It does take a little effort to plan for Christmas spending that doesn’t get out-of-hand, but the payoff is more money in your pocket so you can buy even more presents — if you want. Or use it to hit the after-Christmas sales.

Learn more about Zions Bank’s OnCard and get a head start on your Christmas budgeting plan.

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