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5 Holiday Budgeting Tips to Help You Stay on Budget and Stretch Your Dollars

With the holidays around the corner, now is the time to focus on making traditions and sharing with loved ones. It's also a time to celebrate and splurge a bit as we all prepare to ring in a new year. To get ready for this season, we recommend taking a serious look at your accounts and start planning for the holidays to accommodate growing wish lists. If you want to make sure you don't spend too much, it helps to have a solid plan in place to help stretch resources as much as possible.

Happy couple wrapping holiday presents.
  1. Start With a Budget
    Take some time to think about everything that goes into holiday celebrations, not just gift-giving. Gifts are certainly a big part of any budget, but don't overlook other basics that add up quickly, like food and drink for those special meals, decorations, gift wrap, even holiday cards and postage.
    Once all items are accounted for, check around your home for extras from previous years, like gift wrap or decorations, that will work for this year and help save some cash for other things. Then, start assigning dollar amounts for each item you'll buy, and be specific with limits so you don't accidentally overspend when stores begin to have sales and promotions.
  2. Set an Amount AND Stick to It
    If you're in the middle of shopping, take a look at what you've already spent. If you still have gifts to buy, what's the most you can afford to spend? Whatever that number is, stick with it—no matter what. Your finances come before gift-giving, and true friends will understand if that means no gift this year.
  3. Have a Separate Holiday Spending Account
    Many have success staying within their budget by keeping their holiday funds separate from their regular spending or checking accounts. A dedicated holiday spending account can really simplify your record-keeping during a hectic time of year. You can get a quick view of how much you've saved or spent, and by sticking to the cash in your account, you can avoid running up credit card debt. You can also set up automatic transfers to your dedicated holiday account, helping you build up your savings over the course of a year so you're not scrambling last minute to adjust your budget.
    If you want to have a checking account to spend from rather than a savings account, WaFd Bank offers a Free Checking* account that could be a great fit and comes with features any holiday shopper would need: an ATM/debit card (you can also choose a Seattle Kraken or Seattle Sounders FC design), digital banking, bill pay, and external transfers.
  4. Reduce, Reuse, Regift
    This one isn't for everyone, but for those people on your list who love vintage or are big on reusing items, going thrifting and regifting is a great way to honor their personalities and save a few bucks at the same time. If you get compliments on your style, share it and give them a piece of your home or wardrobe. They'll cherish it not only because they like it but because it's so "you". If you go with regifting, just make sure you don't give it back to the original gifter!
  5. Shorten Your Gift List
    Gift-giving can (and should) be fun! If you have a long list, consider gift games during holiday parties instead. This way, you only need to buy one gift per friend group or family member, and you'll get to do gift swaps and “steal” presents during the game for a bit of extra fun. Time can be short, so if you don't go this route, set expectations with loved ones so they know they won't receive a gift this year. They'll understand your budget and financial needs are top priority!

Want Help Managing Your Money?

No question is too small! Visit your local branch or call us at 800-324-9375 to learn more or open an account. Interested in opening a savings account to put away money throughout the year for holiday spending? WaFd Bank's savings account requires just $25 to open ($10 for those under age 18).

*Nonsufficient funds charge may apply.


Find your local WaFd Bank Branch


Find your local WaFd Bank Branch

We're nearby, and we'll sit down with you and answer any questions you may have.