Although many may be dreaming of a white Christmas in 2015, the only thing that we can be sure of experiencing is a green one. In fact, the average American family will spend $1,779 on seasonal expenditures this year.¹
I’m sure that reading this information may cause some of you to loosen the collar of your tacky Christmas sweaters at the fact that the holidays have currently set you back a dismal $0.00. But fear not as you are not alone, pa-rum-a-pum-pum procrastinators! As of yesterday, a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation showed that 90 percent of Americans had not yet even started their holiday shopping.²
As financial advisors, many of you will spend these next few days busy with year-end client meetings. Should you find that either you or your clients have yet to shop for last minute gifts, be sure to share these tips or use them yourself to help keep the holiday stress out of your wallets and limited to whether or not that eleventh hour hoverboard is in-stock.
However, some have found that Black Friday has not recently been living up to its reputation with lackluster opportunity costs and sub-par deals.³ In fact, DealNews.com reports that, “retailers often mix in their everyday prices with their steeper discounts, hoping that a shopper will bite on a high-profit item.” 4
That said, don’t regret sleeping in after turkey day and experience the savings of year-end sales! These deals don’t require you to wake up at 3 a.m. thus you will have extra time to compare prices during these final shopping hours of 2015.
The holidays are high time for identity thieves to find their way into your wallet. Although you may be in a rush to check out as quickly as possible at each store, be sure to stop and take a moment to review your credit card purchases online or via phone as you shop. This will allow you to know if your credit card information has been stolen and is impending upon your gift giving potential.
Also, if you opt to shop with a debit card, ask to sign for debited purchases whenever possible rather than putting your private information at risk by providing your PIN number. Some credit card companies and banks offer alert services that will notify you through your mobile phone or email if any suspicious activity presents itself on your account.
Make the most of these tips and tools to keep the identity thieves at bay for joyous Christmas day!
Even Santa has to put some last minute sleigh repairs on credit, so don’t be worried if you have to bust out the plastic. However, credit cards may or may not be your best friend during these last minute hours of shopping, so it is important to know what you owe and what you expect to owe.
This will help you keep your funds in order and gauge what kind of gifts are in your financial reach for now and later.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of credit cards out there that best suit your purchasing and payment habits, so do your research prior to arriving at the mall.
Looking to give a last minute gift that will truly keep on giving? Try providing a charitable donation on behalf of a loved one to not only spread holiday cheer to the recipient, but also to those in need.
Visit our recent blog post, “Tax Deductions on Charitable Giving” to learn more about this philanthropic present option!
If you are reading this Christmas morning and you have an hour to arrive at your family gathering, we might suggest giving yummy baked goods as presents. Although it may be a little too late to spread holiday cheer in the form of store bought gifts this year, know that 2016 is right around the corner.
What a better way to start your year off right than by resolving to keep your finances in order with a yearly budget. This will help lift the burden of last minute shopping off of your shoulders and alleviate financial stresses year round. Financial advisors should use this opportunity to start strengthening your client relationships early on in the year!
1. Johnson, H. (2015, Dec 16). “The Cost of Christmas 2015” Simple Dollar. Retrieved from: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/cost-of-christmas-2015
2. “Consumer-Savings Expert Offers Tips For Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers” (2015, Dec 20). CBS New York. Retrieved from: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/12/20/last-minute-shopping-tips/
3. Joshritchie (2010, Nov 20). “Does Black Friday Save You As Much Money As You Think?” Intuit. Retrieved from: http://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/tax-news/does-black-friday-save-you-as-much-money-as-you-think-4256/
4. de Grandpre, D. (2010, Nov 5). “The Facts Behind 15 Black Friday Myths” dealnews. Retrieved from: http://dealnews.com/features/The-Facts-Behind-15-Black-Friday-Myths/398198.html