Prevent Overspending on Gifts
All of the shopping, celebrations and travel during the holidays can make managing finances difficult. According to the National Retail Federation, the average person spends over $800 during the holiday season.
Want to keep overspending at bay? Follow these tips:
Budget for Holiday Gifts
- Take a look at your overall budget for the month or year and determine how much you can spend specifically on holiday gifts.
- Outline who you plan on getting a gift for this year. In addition to family and close friends, don’t forget work parties or school events.
- Set aside a few dollars for wrapping paper or gift bags. Then divvy up your overall Holiday Gift budget for each individual on your list.
Make a Shopping List
Making a shopping list just makes sense. Take a page from Santa’s book (literally) and brainstorm a few gift ideas for each person. To make shopping easier, have one or two ideas within your price range for each individual.
The point of gift-giving is that you care about someone, not that you’re made of money. Personalized gifts go a long way to show your appreciation — and can really give your budget a break. Here are some easy-to-create, easy-on-the-budget ideas:
Hand Cream – Know a gardener or farmer who’s always working with their hands? They’re sure to love homemade hand cream — made with shea butter to moisturize and soothe their hands.
Bookmarks – Do you have a teacher or a bookworm in your life? Make them some custom button bookmarks. These would be great placed on a gift card to a local bookstore or coffee shop.
Homemade Herbal Tea – When it’s cold out, there’s nothing like a hot cup of tea to cozy up with. This gift couldn’t be easier — just buy dried herbs, mix them together and spoon 1 heaping teaspoon into tea bags. Here’s a calming blend recipe that combines just four dried herbs:
- 1/4 oz lemon balm
- 1/4 oz chamomile
- 1/4 oz passionflower
- 1/4 oz rosebuds or rose petals
Whether bought or homemade, the gifts you give don’t need to bust your budget. You can stay on top of holiday spending by creating a budget, making a list and sticking to it. And if you ever need help managing your finances, we’re here for you.
Check out our online Financial Education Center for a holiday refresher on topics like:
- Building a budget
- Preventing overdraft fees
- Protecting against identity theft
- Using your credit wisely
Protect Yourself Against Cyberattacks
What’s the most common cyberattack used to steal financial information? That’s right — it’s phishing. The goal of phishing is always to steal your personal information. Learn more about the different types of phishing cyberattacks below.
Tip: Never disclose login credentials, credit card information or bank account details over email.
In this type of attack, hackers impersonate a real company to obtain your login credentials. You may receive an email asking you to verify your account details with a link that takes you to an imposter login screen that delivers your information directly to the attackers.
Spear phishing is a more sophisticated phishing attack that includes customized information that makes the attacker seem like a legitimate source. They may use your name and phone number and refer to a known company in the email to trick you into thinking they have a connection to you, making you more likely to click a link or attachment that they provide.
Whaling is a popular ploy aimed at getting you to transfer money or send sensitive information to an attacker via email by impersonating a real company executive. Using a fake domain name, they look like normal emails from a high-level official of the company, typically the CEO or CFO, and ask you for sensitive information (including usernames and passwords).
Shared Document Phishing
You may receive an email that appears to come from file-sharing sites like Dropbox or Google Drive alerting you that a document has been shared with you. The link provided in these emails will take you to a fake login page that mimics the real login page to steal your account credentials.
Avoid Phishing with These Best Practices
To avoid these phishing schemes, follow these email best practices:
- Don’t click on links or attachments from senders that you do not recognize. Be especially wary of .zip or other compressed or executable file types.
- Don’t provide sensitive personal information (like usernames and passwords) over email.
- Watch for email senders that use suspicious or misleading domain names.
- Inspect URLs carefully to make sure they’re legitimate and not imposter sites.
- Don’t try to open any shared document that you’re not expecting to receive.
- Be especially cautious when opening attachments or clicking links from an email you weren’t expecting.
Phishing attacks can happen at any time to anyone. But now that you know what to expect, you can avoid serious consequences by protecting your sensitive or financial information.