Try These Holiday Spending Strategies Inspired by Frozen 2
Follow these personal finance tips to help keep your holiday purchases from snowballing.
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.
OnCard is a prepaid debit card that can be reloaded at any time, and it comes with a built-in money management app. Your OnCard can be used anywhere that Visa® is accepted. You can create categories for all of your holiday spending, including gifts, food, parties, decorations and travel. As a reloadable, prepaid debit card, only the amount of money you load onto the card is available to access, so you can set parameters around your own spending.
You can check your balance anytime using the OnCard app and refuel funds by transferring dollars from your bank account, adding cash at a branch location, direct depositing funds, or moving money from a third-party bank. OnCard will send you notifications when you are getting close to reaching the budget you have allocated for Christmas, which makes it easier to monitor your spending.
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 or get started with OnCard online or by visiting a Zions Bank branch location today. A division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC.
Ali Hardy is a freelance writer for Zions Bank.
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