The holidays bring good cheer to many but can also cause stress. Rest assured, Highlands Community Bank is here to help you navigate any holiday financial challenges.
We’ve gathered valuable tips and advice to help you survive the financial piece of the holidays and ensure you can enjoy this particular time of year to the fullest.
Holidays in the Highlands
One of the best ways to save money this year is to shop locally! Here in the Highlands, there’s something for everyone. This area is home to many small businesses that make gifting easy and affordable.
Right in Downtown Clifton Forge, we have a charming consignment shop called Livy’s Closet, packed with one-of-a-kind treasures. Rare books, home decor, clothing, candles – you name it, you’ll find it at Livy’s. Owner Jenny is an integral member of our community. She’ll welcome you in with a smile and tell you some interesting stories about items in the shop!
Another local gem is Kanawha Café, located in Covington. Here, you’ll find all sorts of great gifts for the coffee lovers in your life. Shelves are stacked with bags of freshly roasted coffee, sweets (excellent stocking stuffers), and all sorts of gadgets to make the perfect cup of joe! The couple that owns the café, the Hogendoblers, will make you feel right at home and make any recommendations.
If you’re in the Hot Springs area, check out The Sparrow’s Nest! This is a unique one-stop shop for beautiful handcrafted items and Virginia-grown products. Here, you can find pottery, unique up-cycled creations, botanical jewelry, leather goods, and so much more, all made by local artisans. Locals rave about their products and their friendly staff. You have to visit!
Aside from shopping locally, keep your eyes peeled for any sales events and clip coupons when you find good deals. Some of your favorite stores may offer discounts for signing up for their mailing list or if you purchase items online. Compare the prices of products on your list online before buying. You may find a bargain!
Prepping for the Holiday
It’s so easy to let that holiday spirit take over you and splurge on gifts and goodies. But we strongly encourage you to make a holiday budget. Remember that budgets aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution, so create one that aligns with your financial situation.
You are creating a holiday budget to make things easier for yourself in the long run. You can use plenty of great resources for guidance, like the Highlands Community Bank Monthly Budgeting Worksheet.
When it comes to your holiday budget, you should consider your typical costs (rent, bills, groceries) and create a list of any planned holiday expenses (gifts, ingredients for meals, travel costs, decor). After bills are deducted, and your financial priorities are accounted for, you can get an idea of how much you have to work for your holiday spending.
Leave yourself some wiggle room just in case of any unexpected occurrences. Try to cap these expenses and track your spending throughout the season. Some people swear by spreadsheets, whereas others turn to handy apps like EveryDollar to tackle these steps. It all comes down to personal preference, so feel free to experiment.
Save to Soothe the Holiday Financial Stress
Saving money is helpful when the holiday season rolls around. Some people will create a dedicated holiday savings fund to prevent spending snafus when the time comes.
Just as it sounds, this type of account is a designated place where you can set aside money for Christmas gifts, hosting essentials, holiday travel, etc., separate from your regular savings account.
Highlands Community Bank offers Christmas Club Accounts that make saving a breeze. You can often set up automatic transfers to your savings account to make everything easier. Automating the process can keep you on the right track throughout the year. The money would be out of sight, out of mind, and earmarked for your holiday needs!
Plan For the Perfect Holidays
The holiday season should be a time of joy and togetherness, not financial stress. That’s why it’s essential to approach the holidays with a solid financial plan. Since we’re approaching the end of the year, it’s a good time to reflect on personal finances and plan for the future. Maybe you have goals for next year, like buying a new car or paying off a loan. Whatever you hope to achieve, we’re here to help.
You can easily monitor your progress and hold yourself accountable using apps like Mint, which helps give you a clear visual of cash flow and offers insights about how to save.
Through the years, more banks have begun rolling out mobile apps. For instance, the Highlands Community Bank app allows you to manage your finances anytime, anywhere. You can pay your bills, view transactions, check your statements, and more from your phone.
Count On Your Neighbors at Highlands Community Bank
At Highlands Community Bank, we support our community in achieving financial well-being year-round. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.