Asian couple at kitchen table looking at desktop during holidays
Asian couple at kitchen table looking at desktop during holidays

how to stick to a holiday budget

Tips to help you plan and get you through the season

The holiday season is that festive time of the year when people get together to enjoy time with family and friends and of course, additional spending. U.S. households are expected to spend an average of $985 on holiday-related items in 2023.1 For many, this can be a tough bill to pay going into the new year. Here are some holiday budgeting tips to help you plan and get you through the season.

A holiday savings account lets you make routine deposits throughout the year.

Make a holiday shopping game plan

Write down everyone you plan to give gifts to - from your best friends to your family gift exchange to co-workers at the office. Then put a dollar figure next to each name. Be realistic about your finances and what you can afford, not what you can charge on a credit card and hope to pay off at the January due date. Setting price limits helps you keep your holiday budget on track.

Start saving for your gift budget

In the fall (or sooner depending on your budget), start setting aside some money from your paycheck in a savings account. Some banks even have special holiday accounts just for this purpose. A holiday savings account lets you make routine deposits throughout the year. The accumulated savings are then withdrawn before the holiday season to provide funds for gift shopping and other holiday expenses.

Do not wait until the last minute to shop

Yes, there are often last-minute sales, but you do not want to find yourself in a panic on Christmas Eve trying to find gifts. You are likely to overspend if you do this, not to mention the added stress that comes with shopping for gifts in a rush.

Do price checks

Nowadays most retailers will price match if you find a better deal at another store. Check your phone when shopping to make sure you get the best price for your gifts.

Be creative

A nicely framed photo of you and your friends or a tin of your freshly baked favorite holiday cookies would make great gifts and can mean just as much or more than something from a department store. Maybe it is a certificate for free babysitting or pet-sitting for a friend or family member. A home-cooked dinner prepared by you for your significant other just might be the way to their heart.

Keep track of spending

Review your bank accounts regularly and pay bills on time using online banking to easily monitor your accounts. If you purchase with a credit card, use a card that offers cashback or other rewards to get the most bang for your buck. First Financial Bank’s money management tool is an easy-to-use online banking resource that can help you set a budget and plan ahead.

1 "Consumers Expect to Spend Less on Holiday Items in 2023,” The Conference Board, November 6, 2023;

The information on this page is accurate as of November 2023 and is subject to change. First Financial Bank is not affiliated with any third-parties or third-party websites mentioned above. Any reference to any person, organization, activity, product, and/or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement. By clicking on a third-party link, you acknowledge you are leaving First Financial Bank is not responsible for the content or security of any linked web page. Member FDIC / Equal Housing Lender.


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