The Greater Houston area has some of the biggest holiday budgets in America. A recent study from WalletHub ranked two Houston suburbs among the top 10 in the country for holiday spending. Households in the Woodlands (No. 6 place) and Sugar Land (No. 7 place) spend roughly $2,729 and $2,728, respectively. Consumers in League City (No. 15) come in close with an average spend of $2,501.
While holiday spending can bring a lot of joy, it can also invite additional stress. According to the same WalletHub study, the average household credit card debt in 2020 was $7,938. With all of the pre-holiday sales, it’s easy to start impulse buying and blow your budget—or worse, get into debt. But if your goal is to avoid post-holiday regrets, it’s crucial to plan ahead.
Create a Holiday Budget
Curb excessive holiday spending by creating your gift list and setting sensible limits on your holiday spending. First, you’ll need to take a hard look at your income and set a realistic budget for how much you can afford to spend.
Then it’s time to ask yourself some questions to help shape your plan. For example, how much disposable income do you have each month? Do you have a dedicated savings account or have you put aside money throughout the year to spend on the holidays? What are some creative ways you can stretch your budget? Will you budget your overall holiday spending or per gift? Don’t forget to write down your gift list and budgets to hold yourself accountable.
Less Can Be More
When it comes to gift giving, it’s not all about monetary value. A small, meaningful gift can be worth so much more than an expensive present that someone may never use. Try putting some thought and personalization into your gifts to show family and friends how much you care. For example, engraved gifts, monogrammed gifts and photo gifts make a great impression.
Don’t Fall for Flash Sales
While pre-holiday sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be very tempting, they don’t necessarily have the best deals. Flash sales are designed to create fierce competition and a sense of urgency that make even the most budget-conscious people cave. While there are some good deals to be had, you’re more than likely to impulse buy items you don’t need and spend much more than you had planned.
Avoid the Allure of Convenience
Online shopping has made shopping for holiday gifts easier than ever. It’s also made it easier to spend, spend, spend. When you shop online with debit cards, credit cards or online payment systems instead of cash, it becomes easier to convince yourself that you’re not spending “real” money. Research has shown that people spend significantly more when using credit cards—up to 100% more in some cases. When shopping online, you may find that waiting 24 hours before buying something can help cut back on impulse purchases.
Planning Over Pressure
Bottom line, having a plan in place can help you overcome the pressure to overspend this holiday season. Instead of spending money on expensive gifts, spend more time with your loved ones. Instead of buying impulsively, try spending intentionally.
And remember to plan ahead for holiday hours and closures. While we’re always open online, all Allegiance Bank locations will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day and will be closing early on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in observance of the holidays.