Budgeting for the Holidays

Budgeting for the Holidays


How to budget for the holidays and avoid going into credit card debt

With inflation still at an all-time high and the rise of fuel and grocery prices not letting up, the smartest way to get your holiday budget under control is to plan ahead now—and not burn up your budget with last-minute shopping.

A budget, simply put, is a spending plan based on your income and expenses. If you start now in November, estimating how much surplus money you’ll have for holiday gifts and parties, you’ll be financially better off when January rolls around.

Three biggest spending mistakes

According to financial planners, there are three pitfalls to avoid when spending around the holidays.

  1. Not setting up a spending budget per person, per gift. The common rule of thumb is to plan on spending between $50 and $100 on a gift for a family member and between $20 and $50 for a friend.
  2. Opening store credit cards. While it seems smart at first to get a discount on an item with a new store card, it actually hurts you in the long run as it spurs a hard inquiry on your credit score, which could knock it down a few points.
  3. Two words: Black Friday. This year, it’s Friday, November 25, the day after Thanksgiving. And even if there is a sale you can’t resist, check to make sure the item is in your holiday budget. Otherwise, that sale leads to overspending on an item you can’t afford, which cancels out the whole purpose of the sale price.

Avoid holiday scams

The holidays are a time of year when people are feeling generous and in the giving spirit—and scammers prey upon those feelings. Beware of what’s called non-delivery and non-payment crimes. The first instance is when you pay for an item or service online, but the goods are never received. In the second case, you’re the one shipping goods or offering services, but you never get paid. Last year, these two scams alone cheated more than $337 million dollars out of good-hearted people.

The FBI urges computer users to check each website’s URL to make sure it’s legitimate. Do an extra bit of research and check the company’s reviews before making a purchase. And always be wary of getting any suspicious links or attachments in your email or through social media. You could inadvertently download malware to your device.

With the ever-evolving tactics of cybercrime, there are multiple ways perpetrators attempt to swindle people online. The FBI reported that $6.9 billion was lost through internet crimes in 2021. Be sure to browse our past blog: How to Protect Yourself Against Cybercrime and Scammers and protect yourself and people in your life who might be vulnerable to these crimes.

How Katahdin Trust can help you prepare

With a solid holiday budget in place, put the power of Katahdin Trust in the palm of your hand with our mobile banking app. Check your daily spending limits with an Instant Balance Feature, get instant access to your Transaction History, or transfer money from one account to another with one click. To stay on top of your spending plan, you can also receive custom account and activity alerts and establish transaction controls for dollar amount limits. Going in on a gift with a family member or friend? You can send money to friends and family with Zelle®.

Additionally, you can start early by opening a special Christmas Club account, which only requires a $1 minimum to open and no monthly fee. Deposits are automatically transferred from a Katahdin Trust checking or savings account so you can “set it and forget it.”

Another way to save money is to use your debit card to purchase everything on your holiday list, rather than use a credit card, which has higher interest rates. If you’re interested in opening an account with Katahdin Trust, you can walk into a branch today and get a card to use immediately. Use the tips featured in this blog to keep your spending on track this holiday season and reach out to our customer service representatives if you have any other questions. We’re here to help!

Our mobile banking app is free but message and data rates from your wireless carrier may apply. Zelle and the Zelle related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license. Please refer to Katahdin Trust's Fees for General Services brochure for additional fees that may apply. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Katahdin Trust Company. Community Banking at its best since 1918.
Member FDIC
Equal Housing Lender




Find Us
Branches & ATMs
Call Us
Talk with a local banker
Email Us
With secure messages
Chat with Us
We are here to help
Back to Top