So Money - Episode Bonus

Bonus: Smart Spending Ahead of the Holidays

Farnoosh Torabi

This episode is brought to us thanks to So Money sponsor Chase.

Have you begun your holiday shopping yet? To control the spend over the past few years, as our family has grown, my relatives and I like to participate in a Secret Santa. I have just two people to shop for, as opposed to twenty! And those gifts can be extra special. It’s just one way I recommend making your own traditions around the holidays to both enjoy the festivities but also be mindful of your finances.

Today’s episode has some advice for all of us, as we embark on the spending frenzy. As part of So Money’s partnership with Chase and as the financial education ambassador for Chase, we welcome BJ Mahoney, General Manager Chase Freedom  to the show today.  He shares some interesting research related to holiday spending, as well as seasonal savings tips.

A summary of some of our advice is below.

Start Early

From gift purchases to travel bookings, crafting a clear budget for your holiday spending before the frenzy will ensure that you spend more intentionally and within budget, as opposed to procrastinating and overspending.

Prioritize Gifting

If you have an army of friends and relatives to shop for, you’ll want to make a list and prioritize your dollars and cents. Start by picking out gifts for the children in your life, followed by significant others and immediate family. You can always suggest the adults participate in an anonymous gift grab with a monetary limit – say, $20 or $25.

Leverage Card Points

Now’s a great time to take advantage of any card points you’ve accumulated this year to purchase gift cards and gifts for loved ones. It’s a great way to check many gifts off your list without spending a dime! Building on that, finding a credit card that will provide instant cash back can be a big selling point. For instance, Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited are currently offering a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases for new cardmembers – easy to spend during the holidays and it can go right towards those gifts you need to buy the whole family.

Be Honest

If spending money this holiday will sink you further into debt, be honest with close friends and family and explain ahead of time that you won’t be able to do it up this year with the usual gifts. They should understand. But remember—gifts don’t need to cost much.  For example: baked goods, homemade photo calendars and gift certificates for favors, such as free babysitting, are thoughtful presents everyone will appreciate.

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