Holiday Shopping: How to Shop Without Breaking Your Budget

donovan holiday shopping 2


The biggest holiday shopping season of the year is in progressAs much as we would like to provide our family and friends with every gift their heart desires, it is important to keep our financial goals in mind.

Staying within budget does not necessarily mean that you must limit the amount of gifts you buy. It simply means your financial goals must remain at the top of the shopping list. The following suggestions are tips to assist holiday shoppers with staying on track.


What To Do Before You Begin Shopping

Know Your Budget

The first thing budget-conscious shoppers must do is create a budget. By doing so, you will be able to keep a log of what you are spending.

Comparison Shop

Do a bit of investigating in stores and online to locate better deals. Most stores offer discounts specifically for online shoppers, and they normally make deals more enticing by with no-hassle returns and free shipping.

Make a List

Make a comprehensive list of how much money you want to spend, what gifts you are purchasing, and who you are purchasing gifts for.


What To Do While You Are Shopping

Debit or Credit?

Definitely use a debit card instead of credit cards. Debit cards automatically prompt you to spend only what you have, and help you avoid paying interest.

Say No To Department Store Credit Cards

Some retailers will offer a 10 or 15 percent savings on your entire purchase if you open a credit card on the spot. However, shoppers must consistently be aware of their credit card balance and be sure to pay it off in full. If not, you might be stuck with an annual percentage rate of nearly 20 percent.

Say Yes To Gift Cards

What’s better than a gift? A prepaid gift card. Prepaid gift cards work similar to debit cards and the cardholder has the opportunity to purchase exactly what they want.

Read Your Receipts Carefully

We have all been given a gift we wish we could return. Some of your family members and friends might feel the same way and that’s okay. Just be sure the receipt includes the real cost of the item. Some stores provide gift receipts, which hide the cost of the gift. You might think hiding the value of your gift is a good idea but stores will often disregard the purchase value and instead offer store credit or a reduced price on returns.

How can traditional banks defeat their new tech competitors?

David K DonovanCultivate a “digital ecosystem”:  According to Deutsche Bank, adapting to the digital age requires more than launching a web-based service tool or re-designing a webpage. Truly engaging in the digital sphere means ingesting this mindset into the core of the company’s structure. Following the example of internet companies, banks should strive to force their clients into their value chain. ‘These sorts of digital ecosystems “integrate a large volume of digital content, mobile devices, software and internet services under a single umbrella so that their customers ideally no longer have to leave their platform”, Deutsche Bank explains, adding that banks should do the same’. By creating a fully comprehensive set of services, platforms and information, banks will ensure that their clients are spending as much time on their properties as possible.

Find the Trust: Trust has played a significant role in shaping the public perceptions of banks over the past seven years or so. After the economic downturn of 2008 and the subsequent media attention on bail-outs and Wall Street salaries, banks struggled to regain the trust of their customer base. After this initial flurry of negative attention, the trust between banks and their clients was once again tested after a series of very public banking security system flaws and breaches. While regaining a lost sense of trust is difficult, there are very tangible steps that banks can take to begin this rebuilding process. By investing significant capital into internal data and security systems and processes, the banks will in turn prove their commitment to the security of the client.

Understand Your Data : Today’s banks act as vast repositories for huge amounts of customer data. However, not all banks are using this information to their advantage. With the advent of big data, banks have the information but it’s up to them to figure out the best way to use it. Taking time to strategize about what information would be most beneficial to analyze, as well as truly considering the best tools to do this are critical steps that determine whether or not a bank will survive in this digital era.

Be transparent: Along with building trust through enhanced security efforts, banks can increase efforts to rebuild by implementing transparency about how banks are using their clients’ information. Lengthy terms and conditions technically outline exactly how a bank is using, accessing and aggregating client information, yet this is not packaged in a particularly digestible form for the customer. Sharing this information in a way that is easily understood, as well as explaining the algorithms that the bank utilizes are two ways in which data transparency could serve to strengthen the relationship between the bank and the customer.