It’s no secret that December marks one of the busiest shopping months of the year. According to the National Retail Federation, this year, the average American will spend approximately $940 on holiday-related items, including gifts for others (and for themselves), food, decorations and greeting cards. But, as their study suggests, many Americans will spend much more. And, it’s this increase in spending that can often create complications.
Here are a few reminders that will hopefully help you better spend and track your money this holiday season.
1. Buying Big-Ticket Items? Know Your Limits.
December is a great time of the year to take advantage of discounts on big-ticket items, like TVs, appliances, and laptops. But, before you head to the store (or click “Checkout” online), be aware of your card’s limit. Most debit cards have a daily spending limit in the ballpark of $1,500, which is designed to reduce the risk of fraudulent purchases. But, most banks will temporarily raise that limit at your request.
CNB customers may request a limit increase online or by calling the bank during business hours.
2. Can’t Control Your Spending? Try Cash or a Debit Card.
It’s not that hard to get a little swipe-happy with our credit cards during the holidays. So, if you have trouble keeping your spending in check during the onslaught of holiday sales, try making purchases with cash or a debit card. While every consumer is different, there are a ton of studies linking increased spending to credit card use. When we use cash, we tend to focus less on the product’s benefits and more on the product’s cost, which ultimately helps us spend less.
3. Make a Note of How to Cancel Your Card.
With the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s not that hard to misplace something, including your debit (or credit) card. Make a note of how you can cancel your cards in the event that one of them goes missing. One easy way to store this information is to create a note on your phone that includes your card information and the methods of cancellation (phone, online/mobile banking, etc.).
4. Traveling for the Holidays? Let Your Bank Know.
Approximately 100 million Americans travel to be with family during the holidays. If you’re leaving the state, trust me when I say that your bank would appreciate a heads up. As part of their efforts to protect your account, banks are constantly monitoring spending patterns. When you let the bank know your travel plans, you help minimize the possibility of your account being flagged for suspicious activity.
CNB customers may submit a travel advisory online or by calling the bank during business hours.
While money certainly plays a role during our holiday season, the most important thing is spending time with friends and family. And, it’s my hope that, by sharing these few reminders, you’ll spend less time thinking about money during this special time of the year.
About the Author:
Dawn Eades is a customer service specialist and bank officer at Central National Bank. Whether it’s working in her garden or trimming trees with a chainsaw, Dawn loves to be outside. She also enjoys spending time with her daughter—they are actively involved in the Girl Scouts’ Central Texas Chapter.