Financial Intelligence This Holiday Season

Holiday shopping using laptop computer, photographed against christmas tree lights

Holiday spending, and overspending, is something that everyone can relate to in one way or another. In the era of e-commerce, the foundation for record-breaking expenditures has been paved with the click of a button. This holiday season, Deloitte predicts holiday sales to exceed $1 trillion from November through January. A stabilizing economy means that consumers are armed and ready to fill their online shopping carts with gifts for their loved ones. Things like a growing disposable income and a soaring consumer confidence are contributing factors to sales forecasts for the 2017 holiday season. In fact, Deloitte has projected a 4.5 percent increase in holiday sales for retailers and an 18 to 21 percent increase in e-commerce sales. The bottom line this year is that Americans have their wallets ready, both physically and virtually.

When sales trends begin to look the way they do and consumers begin to feel more stable and confident, poor financial decisions typically follow. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to maintain financial intelligence with a little extra cash in the bank. So, before you run to your favorite websites to spend money this holiday season, keep these spending tips in mind:

  1. Create a budget and plan accordingly. Consider a budget app like this one that can make sure you are maximizing every dollar to make any financial plan work for your holiday shopping needs. Money management is critical in your decision making on gifts for your friends and family.
  2. Make a list, check it twice, and then make sure you are buying when the price drops. Creating a holiday list is important for a number of reasons. Your cousin that always gets overlooked will be happy that you did. In addition, use an app like Slice to monitor your purchases and save some money when it informs you of a price drop to potentially get a refund.
  3. Do the research online, but don’t always buy online. The ability to be fully educated on the products you are looking to buy has never been easier. More often than not you will find the best deals online, but arming yourself with information will make you a smart shopper. Use shopping tools to compare prices and consider Amazon Prime, as this will get you earlier access to their deals.
  4. Consider gift cards. This is a great option for anyone who is tough to shop for and, more importantly, with a little digging you’ll find gift cards that are sold for less than their face value.
  5. Be a financially intelligent traveler. With millions of Americans traveling around the country every holiday season, the savviest of them will book their flights in advance, keep an eye out for coupons, and even fly on the day of the holiday.

As a bonus tip, look for deals on free shipping as you do your online shopping. Shipping promotions are often overlooked, but typically offer a sizable discount to the total purchase. No matter what your budget may be this holiday season, it is important to be financially intelligent. Approaching your shopping plan with a strategy can make all of the difference in sticking to your budget and getting the best deals. Cheers to smart spending and holiday savings this year, good luck to you all!

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