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The warm cookie aroma and festive light displays can only mean two things: the holidays are here and so are the extra expenses. Even though this year’s holiday shopping season may look a bit different, going overboard on those online clicks could still break your bottom line. Dash through the holidays with 5 powerful financial tips to help you ‘sleigh’ your seasonal budget and keep your credit bright all year long.

1. Make a List and Check it Twice

Before you start loading up your cyber cart, make a list, and check it twice. Write down each person you plan to buy for and assign a set amount that you are comfortable spending. From there, only search for gifts that fit within that budget range. For safer shopping during the pandemic, start online before you mask up and head into a store. To prevent overspending, compare prices from a few different vendors and always search for coupon codes and discounts before you make a purchase.

2. Shop Local Sales

Local holiday sales can offer some pretty big savings on unique items. Not only can you find rare gifts for your friends and family, but you’ll also be supporting your local businesses. This year’s pandemic has taken a toll on many small businesses and consumers alike. By shopping small and spending small, you can help keep both budgets afloat during this unprecedented time.

3. Don’t Fall for Excessive Card Offers

Overegerness to cash in on those 15% off store cards can really bite your credit scores in the mistletoe for months or even years! Here’s what you should know to keep your credit bright.

If you shop at a store on a regular basis and if payments are typically not an issue for you, then a store card discount may be beneficial. Alternatively, signing up for too many over a short period of time – or not being responsible with your bills could hurt your credit. With this in mind, if you already have several store cards cramping your wallet, it might be best to just say no.

A 15% or 20% discount could end up costing you more than you may have bargained for, especially if you slip up on your payments. To learn more about best credit practices and how you can use ScoreShuttle to increase your scores and keep your credit bright, click below to get started with your $0 credit score!

4. Check Out Social Media Deals

This year’s new online normal has many of us turning to social media more than ever. Not only can a virtual connection be good for our socially distant mindsets, but you can also find savvy deals on social media as well. Follow the brands and products you love to catch deals as soon as they become available.

Registering for newsletters and VIP lists can also help you get to the front of the internet line for discounts. But even though social media can be a great holiday shopping hub, you should be cautious of impulse buys. As you scroll and like, it can be tempting to hit the buy button on items you don’t need. To avoid seasonal impulse debt, always look at your list and budget before you head to checkout.

5. Consider Meaning Over Price

Sure, a $100 gift card to someone’s favorite store is nice. But do you know what can be even more impactful and surprisingly far less expensive? A handmade gift from the heart.

Instead of flooding your holiday celebrations with ‘stuff’ why not try words, a song, or a meaningful memory? Get an old, forgotten about family photo and refurbish it with a new frame and new look. Write a letter, a poem, or even a song about someone for a touching tribute to your relationship.

The meaning behind a gift will go much further than any price tag.