DES MOINES, Iowa -- There's no denying this time of year can be expensive with all the gift-giving there is to do. Sometimes all that shopping leads to accruing debt.
In fact, two in five gift shoppers in a Bankrate Holiday Gifting Survey last year felt pressured to reach deeper into their wallets than they’re comfortable with.
Vivid Tax Advisory in the Des Moines metro is giving tips to make sure those that still have holiday shopping left to do, don’t overspend.
First and foremost, set a smart budget. President Cameron McCarty said making a list of who you are buying for and how much you plan to spend for each gift can help make sure you don’t overspend.
“I would factor in the human element. Are we spendthrifts? Let's be honest about our spending habits here. If we do tend to have that impulse buy then we need to look at cash or debit card where we actually see that money flow out. That actually changes your mindset,” McCarty said.
Next, don't add debt without a plan. They say credit cards aren't always a bad thing when you are getting rewards and sometimes money off for signing up for a store card, but if you can't afford to pay it off, you may just be spending more in interest.
“It's a great idea. I do like credit cards, but you just have to pay them off because one big thing is interest is what should pay you not you paying interest. So take advantage of the deals, especially with the credit cards you get reward points, that kind of thing, but if you can't pay it off then you are just digging yourself a hole,” McCarty said.
Also, be a savvy shopper. McCarty said searching the deals can help save.
“Online shopping is at a high. People are shopping from home and that gives you the ability to start looking at deals, and where those discounts are,” McCarty said. “I think it's a good thing, but it goes back down to budgeting yourself and not overspending.”
Finally, remember what this holiday season is really about.
“One thing my dad always said is ‘how do you spell love? T-I-M-E, time.' Some people just want time. They don't need a gift, or whatever, just spend some time with them,” McCarty said.
These tips can be carried over to the new year. McCarty said making a financial resolution is a great idea.
Some of those resolutions could include cutting unnecessary services like one of the many streaming services you have. Another good resolution is starting to contribute to your 401K. McCarty said everyone should at least contribute enough to get the employer match most companies provide.
“Unfortunately, those pension days are over. There's 20 percent of Americans who are not taking advantage of that match. That is free money. That is your employer handing out money to you saying ‘please take this money, take it.’ Get to those limits so you can get that [money] because that's investing in yourself and your future,” McCarty said.