My Secure Advantage

Small Details, Big Holiday Savings

This year, if you pay attention to a few small details, you’ll find big holiday savings.  Get smart with your spending and make sure your bank account has a happy Christmas too.
By MSA Staff

This year, if you pay attention to a few small details, you’ll find big holiday savings.  Get smart with your spending and make sure your bank account has a happy Christmas too.

Here are a couple tips to get you started.

Cut Down Your Coffee Costs

A quick stop for a boost of liquid energy may seem like a minor detail, but the costs add up.  Save yourself some money all season long by making coffee at home.

Don’t worry!  This doesn’t mean you have to settle for plain coffee instead of the coveted Pumpkin Spice Latte that ushers in the holiday season.  You can still get your favorite flavor without the extra expense.

Let’s say your go-to coffee is a Pumpkin Spice Latte from your favorite coffee shop, which costs around $5 – more or less depending on your location.  Considering that the average American drinks about three cups a day, you’re looking at a hefty coffee bill.  Even if you only get five-dollar specialty coffee to start off the workday and you get a two-dollar coffee the rest of the time, you’re still looking at $45 bucks a week for your daily brew.

If you buy a pound of coffee beans for $14.95, and that one pound bag produces about 22 twelve-ounce cups of coffee (based on the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s calculations), you’re paying $0.68 for a cup of coffee instead of $2.  If you buy a pumpkin spice syrup, like a 750mL bottle with 25 servings for $7, you’re still getting your favorite holiday drink for less than a dollar – saving you around $30 a week!

Get in the Know with Early Bird Deals

Did you know that stores are giving sneak peeks for their Black Friday deals?  Before you rush off to fight everyone else for that 50%-off, big screen TV, arm yourself with a trusty budget and a list of on-sale gifts.

Use the sales sneak peek to plan ahead and make your shopping list.  A list is such a small thing, but it helps big time:

  1. Now that you have the actual cost ahead of time, you can save up and make sure it really does fit in your budget.
  2. Having a list gives you something to stick to so you’re not tempted to spend more than you can afford and buy something you don’t need (even if the sale is super good).

Carry Cash for Extra Protection

Cash versus credit or debit seems like a minor decision, but the consequences could be huge.  Taking a predetermined amount of cash to spend on holiday shopping can help you stay on budget because it’s easier to track how much you’ve spent and how much you have left over.

Identity theft is another great reason to use cash instead of debit or credit cards.  The average financial loss per identity theft is $7,761,¹  and during the holiday season, fraudsters are on the prowl for new victims.

While you’re distracted by the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers, thieves might look over your shoulder for your card information or attach card skimmers to ATM machines or card readers in order to get your debit/credit card information.

Thieves also take advantage of the season of giving by setting up fake charities; then, they call or email you, asking for donations.  Once they collect your personal information, including card information, they use it for their own gain: setting up fake accounts, going into debt under your name or selling the information to other fraudsters.

Switching to cash can protect you from numerous identity issues, saving you thousands of dollars in potential losses.

Your Money Coach Can Help

The simple act of talking with your Money Coach during the holidays can help you stay on track with your budget; plus, your coach can give you more ideas on how to save money this time of year, like how to manage your credit cards and keep your finances safe from identity theft while you shop.  You can also get access to Wallet, an online money management tool that can help you track your spending, create budgets, set up alerts and more!

Start working with a Money Coach today by calling 888-724-2326.

¹Harrell, Erika, Ph.D.  “Victims of Identity Theft, 2014.”  BJS, Sep. 2015.  Web.  16 May 2016.

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