Tips to Help Budget Holiday Spending

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Holiday Shopping Insights from Consumer and Family Finance Expert, Andrea Woroch

The holiday season is one of giving, which often means it is also the season of spending. Recently, Consumer and Family Finance Expert, Andrea Woroch teamed with Capital One and YourUpdateTV to discuss tips on budgeting for the holiday season.

A video accompanying this announcement is available at: https://youtu.be/geCpcNIOOq0

Here are some tips to help you get started:

1.    Think beyond gifts when budgeting for holidays.
Budgeting for holiday gifts is a no brainer. But don’t forget to plan for all the other expenses that creep up throughout the holiday season. These can include everything from groceries for out of town guests and holiday parties, to teacher gifts and wrapping paper, to holiday party attire and extra babysitting service to attend those parties - and just to finish up your shopping. Review your expenses from previous years to get a better idea of what you will spend money on, outside of just gifts, and cut back in other ways.

2.    Start shopping early.
Manage your cash flow and alleviate the financial pressure of buying all your holiday gifts at once in December by shopping earlier in the season. Retailers begin rolling out pre-Black Friday deals in early November, giving you more opportunities to save on popular gifts and holiday items. This gives you a chance to spread out purchases to alleviate stress and budgeting constrictions.

3.    Maximize rewards on your purchases.
There are plenty of opportunities to earn rewards for all your holiday purchases. Make sure you are using a credit card that offers rewards for the retailers and service providers you plan to spend money with during this holiday season. For example, the new Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard rewards cardholders for shopping at Walmart and everywhere else Mastercard is accepted. From gifts under the tree to your Thanksgiving meal to gas in your car to visit family, the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard rewards you for purchases you make every day during the holidays. Earn 5% back on purchases at Walmart.com and through the app, or 2% back when you buy in the store. This holiday season, however, you can still earn 5% back on in-store purchases if you link the card to Walmart Pay.

Given that you’re likely to participate in many social gatherings during the holidays, this is another opportunity to maximize reward earnings. Offer to front the cost for shared rides, dinners out, or group gifts on your Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard and request that family and friends send their share via an online payment app. Using the card, you will receive 2% back on restaurants and travel, and 1% back everywhere else.

4.    Begin researching prices.
Knowing the best time to buy a holiday gift is more confusing than ever since stores often release different sales daily throughout the holiday shopping season. Begin reviewing prices of products you plan to buy before the sales hit so you have a benchmark to compare against when you’re trying to find the best discounts. Doing this homework ahead of popular sales events will help you quickly spot the good deals from the duds/misleading offers.

5.    Improve your Black Friday game plan.
When it comes to Black Friday, you can score similar in-store savings online and never have to step into a store if you prefer not to deal with the crowds. If you’re someone who enjoys the thrill of Black Friday shopping though, make a plan by reviewing store circulars online to see which retailers will have the best prices on items you want to buy and note the day and time the offer is available.

Keep in mind, Cyber Monday provides another chance to save on popular holiday gifts with many online sites offering free delivery deals on top of site-wide sales and online coupons.

6.    Enjoy convenience without sacrificing savings.
Retailers make it easier than ever to snag in-store savings without the hassle of actually going into the store and shopping, thanks to pick up options for online orders and curbside delivery. This way, you get the instant gratification of scoring a deal without waiting in long checkout lines, wandering around the store to find products or trying to find parking during busy holiday shopping days.

7.    Set your gifting strategy.

Ahead of the holidays, speak with family, friends and co-workers about this year’s gift expectations. Perhaps this season your family decides to limit gifts to the little kids? At work and with your circle of friends, you can set up a Secret Santa so everyone only has to buy one gift versus several.

The holidays often put people in the mood to give and that’s great, but it can also wreak havoc on your finances if you don’t properly plan your shopping and gifting strategy. This means, think about all the people in your life you want to give gifts to and whether it’s more important to give bigger presents or give gifts to more people you care about. Depending on which gifting scenario you choose, you will have to adjust your spending budget. Spend less per gift when buying for more people, or narrow your list so you can afford to buy more expensive gifts for a select number of family and friends.

8. Boost your seasonal cash flow.
Holiday shopping can cause a lot of anxiety when you don’t have much wiggle room in your budget, but you can find easy ways to make some extra spending cash. For example, pet sitting, ride share driving and even babysitting are side hustles you can do in your spare time when your schedule allows without interfering with family gatherings.

9. Cut down on food spending.
From hosting holiday parties to purchasing extra groceries for house guests and ordering extra take out on nights you get too busy to cook, it’s easy to rack up a hefty grocery and dining out bill this time of year. When inviting friends and family over for holiday festivities, ask guests to bring a favorite dish. After all, everyone loves showing off their cooking skills! I also like cooking dishes in bulk and freezing leftovers, which make easy meals you can reheat quickly. These will also come in handy when you need to feed family who is in town for the holidays.

For more information, visit CapitalOne.com/Walmart

About Andrea Woroch:
Andrea Woroch is a nationally recognized consumer and money-saving expert who has been helping families find simple ways to save more and spend less without sacrificing their lifestyles for nearly a decade.

As a sought-after expert, Andrea has been interviewed by top shows such as "Today," "Good Morning America," "The Dr. Oz Show," MSNBC's "Morning Joe," CNN's "America's Newsroom" and "Fox & Friends." In print and online, her stories and advice have been featured in popular media such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Money, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Real Simple, Reader's Digest, Yahoo and many other publications.

With a focus on money management, many of Andrea's articles touch on family finance, budgeting, smart shopping and frugal living. You can read more about Andrea and get her latest blog articles at http://www.AndreaWoroch.com, subscribe to her YouTube channel or follow Andrea on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for daily savings advice.

About YourUpdateTV:
YourUpdateTV is a social media video portal for organizations to share their content, produced by award-winning video communications firm, D S Simon Media (http://www.dssimon.com). It includes separate channels for Health and Wellness, Lifestyle, Media and Entertainment, Money and Finance, Social Responsibility, Sports and Technology.

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