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3 Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Budgeting

Oct 14, 2021 | 4 minute read

holiday budget

The holidays are an exciting time, but it’s important not to get too carried away. From presents to decorations and travel costs, you’ll be making a lot of purchases using your checking account or credit cards. In fact, it’s projected that Americans will spend $1.3 trillion this holiday season.1 Below are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind while holiday budgeting.


1. List Out Holiday Expenses

First, write out the holidays you typically observe. From Halloween to Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, there are more than a handful of celebrations coming up. Write down expenses associated with each holiday. Does your child need a Halloween costume? Or, maybe you’re responsible for making the turkey on Thanksgiving. Whatever it is, it’s helpful to know what to expect so you can save accordingly.

2. Choose Payment Methods Wisely

Have a plan in place for payment methods. Some credit cards help you earn a significant amount of points in certain categories. If you have one that lets you earn 3x the points at U.S. supermarkets, it makes sense to use it when buying ingredients to make holiday meals. With a budget, you’ll know what you need to buy and how you plan to do so.

3. Get the Best Price

Price shopping is crucial to save money during the holidays. Download the apps of your favorite retailers to find coupons and promotions on items you were going to buy anyway.


1. Get a Store Credit Card

Store credit cards often boast a one-time discount at card opening or “exclusive savings.” Don’t let these short-term benefits lead your budget astray!

Interest rates on store credit cards are typically high; store sales, deals, and discounts may convince you to buy more than you need; and you may rack up interest payments if you don’t pay off the card on time.

Tip: There are much more attractive credit cards available to holiday shoppers. GECU’s Gold card2 gives you unlimited cash back 365 days a year, no annual fee,3 and $100 cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first 90-days of account opening.4

2. Forgo a Budget

It’s never wise to spend money without a plan. If you go into the holiday season without a budget, you’re more likely to overspend and take a hit in your checking account or on your credit cards. Having a plan in place will keep spending from snowballing. Instead, you’ll know exactly how much you have to spend, what you plan to spend, and how long you’ll have to pay off any credit card balances.

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3. Make Too Many Unneeded Purchases

Do you really need that animatronic Frankenstein, or do you have existing decorations at home you can use? While it’s perfectly fine to spend your hard-earned money on something fun, you should make sure the purchase fits within your budget. Take stock of what you already have and what can be reused.

GECU has your back this holiday season. Use tools like Money Management for holiday budgeting; watch free, on-demand webinars to avoid holiday scams; and enjoy unlimited cash back with our Gold credit card. With a planning mindset, you can enjoy a holiday season that’s merry and bright!



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1Deloitte Holiday Retail Sales Expected to Increase 7-9%

2Gold Card: Your Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will be 8.74% - 14.74% APR, based on your creditworthiness. The APR may vary (increase or decrease) on a quarterly basis and is determined by adding our margin to the Prime Rate as published in The Wall Street Journal effective for the first day of January, April, July, and October of every year. For each dollar charged on a qualifying purchase, and incurred finance charges in each billing period, on your GECU Visa Gold card, you'll earn cash back. Qualifying purchases are purchases for goods and services minus returns and other credits. Qualifying purchases do NOT include: fees, balance transfers, cash advances, or purchases of other cash equivalents. Additional terms and restrictions apply. This rewards program is offered at the discretion of GECU and may be changed from time to time with or without notification. Full terms and details of the rewards program will be included with your card and can also be found in our Gold Card Terms and Conditions, Gold Card Guide to Benefits, and Gold Reward Program Summary.
3Credit Card Fees: Regular APR applies; foreign transaction fee is 1.5% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. There is a $10 or 3% of the amount (whichever is greater) fee to transfer balances from other credit cards to a GECU credit card.
4Gold Card Bonus: As a new Gold cardholder, you have the opportunity to earn a $100 cash back bonus upon making $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days after account opening. When meeting the requirement, a $100 rebate will be applied as a statement credit the cycle after meeting the requirement. 


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