We teamed up with
American Express® to help you make the most of your holiday budget.
I have a tendency to get a little overly excited during this time of year. What can I say? I love gifting! I love cooking big meals! I love holiday parties! That said, all the festivities can really do a number on my bank account and credit card. So, I've learned a few tricks to be a bit more strategic about how I go about my holiday shopping so I don't get super stressed — because a surefire way to ruin the spirit of the season is a shocking bill in January. To help you combat shopping stress, keep reading to find out my essential tips for making the most of your money while still indulging in your favorite parts of the holidays.
Don't Buy on Impulse
This is definitely where I have to check myself. I feel like between Instagram and all the shopping emails I get on a daily basis, it's so easy to get sucked in to tons of impulse purchases. I've found I'm very easily influenced by flashy promotions, so I try and go into the holiday season with an idea of A) how much money I can spend per person and B) the amount of gifts I want to give each person overall. Because you don't want to get into the situation where you have five gifts for mom and only one for dad. I also try to be conscious of deals — if I know an online shop is going to have a sale around the holidays, I'll keep the tab open on my computer so I don't forget about the item and go back to it once the sale starts. Waiting a few days or weeks is also a great way to check that immediate impulse and lets you asses if it's really the right gift.
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Use Amex Pay It Plan It
Image Source: American Express
Brace yourselves, folks — you're about to have your shopping life changed forever. I recently discovered the
American Express® Pay It Plan It feature, and it's been my bank account's knight in shining armor ever since. Basically, the "Pay It" side lets you immediately pay off small purchase amounts of under $100 throughout the month. "Plan It" lets you combine up to 10 purchases of $100 or more and select a monthly plan that works for you with a fixed monthly fee — for example, I used the Plan It Calculator to figure out that I could make 12 payments of $50 for several of my big holiday purchases. I purchased the luxury grill set my dad has been lusting after and upgraded my mom's skincare routine, while knowing exactly how much I'll pay each month — and without having a scary credit card balance come January. Not to mention gifts for other family members and friends — and a few "treat yourself" items for me.
Pay It Plan It plan duration may vary. Terms apply. Learn more here.
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Have Gifts Shipped to Your Final Destination
Anyone who is traveling for the holidays knows what a pain it is to try and pack all your gifts to take home with you. I've spent ungodly amounts of money checking extra bags and broken not a small number of items while trying to stuff a carry-on into the overhead bins. Holiday travel is annoying enough without having to worry if all your well-thought-out gifts are actually going to make it to your final destination in one piece. Unless it's something small and easily packable, I like to have all my online gift purchases sent to wherever I'll be spending the holidays (usually my parent's house). The key to this: letting the homeowner know that you're sending gifts and not to open the box! Then, when you arrive, everything is there waiting for you, hopefully intact and ready to be wrapped.
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