Try These Holiday Spending Strategies Inspired by Frozen 2

Follow these personal finance tips to help keep your holiday purchases from snowballing.

Ali Hardy Nov 22, 2019

Content originally published on Nov 22, 2019, and refreshed on Dec 7, 2020.

Disney’s “Frozen 2” is projected to gross around $100 million during its opening weekend. Considering the financial success the film is expected to enjoy, it seems appropriate to honor the film’s opening with a few financial tips inspired by the beloved wintry saga.

Since Disney magic won’t undo poor financial decisions made this season, consider these tips as you shop over the holidays.

Frozen Financial Tip #1: Try a two-week spending freeze

A spending freeze is the practice of pausing all unnecessary spending for a short period of time. The rules are simple: apart from paying bills and purchasing essentials such as groceries and gas, you halt all other spending.

The average American spends close to $1,500 each month on non-essential items. Whether your guilty pleasures include a morning latte, dining out at restaurants, or impulse purchases at Target, a spending freeze requires you to tweak your short-term spending habits. Try it out for two weeks to save some cash for holiday shopping, or even consider a post-holiday freeze to help you get your budget back on track.

Although freezing your spending will likely require you to sacrifice some things you enjoy, it can lead to significant savings. Plus, as Olaf says, “Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle.”

Frozen Financial Tip #2: Don’t let your holiday purchases snowball

Last year, the average household spent about $800 on holiday purchases. Whether you plan to spend below or above the national average on your family and friends, it’s important to set a holiday budget. Getting carried away this winter could lead to financial storms in the New Year.

One way to avoid overspending on gifts is to download a holiday shopping app to help you stay on track, such as Santa’s Bag or The Christmas List. Apps like these allow you to manage your holiday shopping recipients, lists, purchases and budget. This way, you stay organized and aware of purchases made and money spent this holiday season.

If you’re looking for a low-tech way to avoid the slippery slope of winter spending, consider a cash-only approach to Christmas. Instead of using credit or debit cards to pay for gifts, divide holiday cash into envelopes, and once they are empty, gift shopping concludes. This method helps you curb impulse buys and stick to your budget.

Frozen Financial Tip #3: Watch out for a flurry of credit card activity

If you plan to use plastic for purchases this season, the American Bankers Association® recommends you limit the credit cards you take with you shopping and carefully check your credit card statements for any unauthorized charges. 

The holiday season can attract criminals hoping to take advantage of consumers who are distracted or less diligent at checking their credit card activity during high-transaction periods like the holidays.

If you do spot unauthorized or inaccurate charges, the ABA recommends that you report them immediately to your financial institution or credit card company. Visit the ABA website for additional holiday budgeting tips.

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