Media City Credit Union in Burbank, a financial cooperative who returns its earnings back to its Member-Owners, aims to offer comprehensive financial education to its existing and prospective members. In the credit union spirit of “People Helping People,” Media City CU provides people with holiday spending tips that will help them have a successful holiday season without breaking their budget.
With the holiday season in full swing, Media City CU recognizes the importance of tracking spending efficiently during the most financially impactful season of the year. Whether you are hosting holiday parties, spending on gifts, shopping for special meals, or finding new ways to save on your holiday traditions, Media City CU hopes these tips will keep you on track this holiday season.
Embrace the holiday spirit while still keeping track of your savings by implementing these tips for successful traditions and holiday festivities during the last quarter of the year:
- Start saving early: While you might feel like it is too late this year, it is never too early to start saving for next year’s holiday season. Anticipate potential costs for next year and create a separate holiday savings fund for yourself and your family. That way, you won’t be caught off guard when the holiday season approaches and you’ll already have a great foundation of savings to pull from.
- Plan events ahead with your family and friends: Whether you are hosting, traveling, or attending festivities with family and friends, it is important to keep track of what expenses you will be responsible for during the holiday season. Try planning early so you can take advantage of sales and booking travel in advance to get the best price. In addition, you can take turns hosting holiday events to help balance out the costs with the rest of the family. You can also turn your holiday fun into a potluck style event, where guests bring their favorite holiday dishes to help save on costs.
- Create a budget and shopping list for each holiday: The fall and winter seasons are known for embracing the holiday spirit. With an abundance of holidays to celebrate, make a priority list of your plans and organize a budget for each holiday. If you plan on hosting holiday parties, create a budget and shopping list of what you need to prevent overspending. If you like to celebrate by gift-giving, ensure that you keep track of an overall spending budget and who you need to purchase gifts for.
- Set price limits (and stick to them!): When it comes to giving gifts or hosting parties, it can sometimes be overwhelming to keep track of the amount you need to purchase. Set a price limit for yourself for party categories (like decorations, food/drink, party favors, etc.) and stick to that budget. As for gifts– it is important to make a list of people to give gifts to, then set a price limit for each person. This will help you keep track of spending and also find ways to save by noticing some individuals who might appreciate a handmade gift instead.
- Use credit cards that earn you points: Another way to take advantage of spendy holiday traditions is to use a cashback credit card or credit card that gives you points. Many credit cards offer cashback, discount deals, promotions, travel credit, or overall points that you can use to spend on future purchases. Using cards to make purchases during the holidays can end up being rewarding in the end, but make sure you still keep track of your budget to ensure credit card bills can be covered and you will not accrue debt.
- Take advantage of seasonal sales: Many retailers and industries rely on the holiday season for a bulk of their profits. In doing so, they often offer special sales and promotions during this season to encourage consumers to make purchases. Online and brick-and-mortar retailers promote seasonal specials, Black Friday deals, and discounted merchandise during the holiday season, so be on the look out for the best ways to save. Bonus tip- keep track of price changes online and compare with various retailers to ensure you are getting the best deal.
- Go in on gifts as a group: If you are thinking of getting something extra special for a loved one in your life, it might be helpful to purchase big ticket items as a group. Join forces with family members and split a group gift, ensuring everyone is able to stick to their budget and the receiver ends up with a more meaningful gift that they will actually put to use!
- Save money by DIY-ing when you can: One simple way to avoid overspending during the holidays is by DIY-ing. Whether you are crafting your own decor, DIY-ing Halloween costumes, offering your skills and talents to give back to loved ones with a service, or hand making unique gifts for family and friends, there are plenty of ways to save on holiday traditions.
- Be aware of package and mailbox theft: Unfortunately, the excitement of the holiday season also brings the risk of package and mailbox theft. If you are ordering gifts online or sending gifts via mail, it is essential to keep track of your packages and be aware of theft. Enrolling in USPS Informed Delivery online services informs you of what to expect in your mailbox in advance. Doorbell cameras are also a great way to keep track of packages delivered to your doorstep and ensure you are able to retrieve them promptly. Lastly, avoid mailing money and pricey gifts if you do not have to. With the influx of mail during the holiday season, it is likely that checks, packages, and mail items can get lost in transit or even stolen.
- Monitor your accounts regularly during the season: Keeping track of your checking and savings accounts are very important while being mindful of holiday budgets. However, it is also important to keep track of all spending accounts and monitor for fraudulent activity. Monitor your accounts for unusual activity and to try to keep track of purchasing and the cashing of checks. If you notice suspicious activity in your accounts or involving your checks, alert your financial institution as soon as possible.
Media City Credit Union always aims to serve members and help prevent losses and fraudulent spending. Use the tips above to avoid overspending and continue to be mindful of your accounts. Most importantly, focus your time and resources on celebrating the holidays with your loved ones while making lasting memories. Media City CU hopes your holiday season is safe, successful, and stress-free!
Federally Insured by NCUA.
About Media City Credit Union
Media City Credit Union has served its members since 1936 when we were founded by employees of Helms Bakeries. A credit union is like a bank, only better. Media City offers checking, savings, credit cards and loans, yet profits are returned back to members in the form of reduced fees, higher savings rates and lower loan rates. Media City CU is a financial cooperative, giving back to its member-owners.
The credit union provides fee-free access at 75,000 ATMs worldwide and provides online account access. If you live, work, worship, or attend school anywhere in Burbank, or if you have a relative who is already a member, you can become a member too. As soon as you join, your family members also become eligible. Media City CU partnered with the ChangeWorks Foundation and by making a minimum $25 donation to this wonderful cause (Media City matches the $25 donation), you also become eligible for membership. New members enjoy immediate access to all services, including loans.