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This Holiday Season, Make Your Money Work Smarter – and Safer – For You

saving-money | Read Time: 3 minutes

By Shari Kruzinski | Published: December 2020


These days, budgeting for the holidays is not only about saving for shopping – it’s also about saving while you shop. With the plethora of options available online, in stores and through how you pay, it’s easy to stack savings while stuffing your family’s stockings.

The tried and true tips for holiday budgeting still work, such as building savings through a holiday savings account, searching for sales, tracking spending as you go and more.

According to The Ascent, the average American spent $882.45 in 2019 on holiday gifts, food, decorations, travel, and other miscellaneous holiday-related expenses.

This year’s circumstances have led to some new approaches to holiday budgeting and spending that can help extended families and friends stay connected and enjoy the season.

Here are some tips to navigate the holidays without busting your budget, but while still having festive fun.

Set your budget and stick to it
With many stores and online retailers embracing an “every day is Black Friday” approach this holiday season, the temptation to overspend may be strong. Instead of the multiple day spending spree on sales and special deals, we’re inundated for the better part of two months with deals we don’t think we can pass up. If you struggle with overspending during the holidays, consider using cash when on in-person shopping excursions.

Stay the course and on budget!

Want to send money? Send it safely!
Want to send grandchildren or friends money to pick their own gift? Cash is a great option for staying on your shopping budget, but not for sending through the mail. Unfortunately, it could get lost or stolen. Use peer-to-peer payment options like Zelle® to send them money safely and securely.

Shop local, save money and help your neighbors
Local small businesses have been hit especially hard this year, and they continue to face challenges. A recent WSFS Bank survey found that only 42 percent of small businesses in the Greater Philadelphia region and Delaware expect to see sales increases in the next 12 months.

Many towns organize discount packages and “shop local” rewards programs during the holidays. This year ramp up your local shopping to help your neighbors. Curbside pickup and online sales count, too!

You can still enjoy holiday delicacies together
Have a great cook or baker in your family or circle of friends? Instead of splurging on that large holiday party, spend a few dollars on a video conferencing subscription and ask them to host a virtual holiday baking party.

It’s fun, affordable and still brings people together for holiday cheer!

Stack your rewards
When you do shop online, sign up for rebate sites like Rakuten to earn cash back on your purchases. You can also refer friends and family to earn even more rewards. And don’t forget to use your rewards credit card to earn even more cash back or other perks. When used wisely, having a rewards credit card is a great way to expand your purchasing power through miles, cash rewards and more.

You can also connect your rewards credit card to mobile payment apps, such as Venmo, PayPal or Apple Pay. If your rewards credit card is contactless, you get the added benefit of enhanced security at chip-enabled terminals without having to touch anything but your own card when you do shop in person. You simply tap the card on the terminal to pay.

However you and your family are spending (and spending on) the holidays, remember to have fun, enjoy each other’s company in the safest way possible, and spread holiday cheer every chance you get.

About the Author – Shari Kruzinski
Shari Kruzinski is Senior Vice President, Director of Retail Delivery at WSFS Bank. Her career spans more than 30 years in the banking industry and with WSFS. In her current position, Shari leads overall market strategy, client development and sales management for the Bank’s retail branch network.


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