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As we approach one of the biggest shopping and travel seasons of the year, it helps to have a gameplan on how to maximize your hard-earned dollars. Here are three (3) practical steps to help make your holidays even brighter: BudgetPlan, and Compare.

01 Budget Your Expenses

Be sure you’re considering all expenses from gifts and groceries to gas and fast food stops. Give yourself an achievable, realistic budget for each expense and be sure to leave room for incidental costs that can – and often will – show up.

02 Plan Your Expenses

Once you know your budget, make a list of items you’ll need. This includes everyone for whom you’re buying a gift. If you’re traveling, make arrangements ASAP to get the best deals on flights, auto rentals, and hotels. Having a good, honest idea of where you stand financially, prior to making your final purchases, will keep you from over-extending your spending this season.

03 Compare Costs

Finding out the best prices for each gift, and buying them ahead of time, is the best way to save you from last-minute trips to the store (that often include unnecessary price hikes.) Shopping online is not only convenient but is also an oasis of discounted items with promo codes, digital coupons, and flash sales. Also, consider cost comparisons to help you stay within your budget (and sanity).


A little planning and discipline go a long way in what could be an already stressful season. These steps can help you all year long and help strengthen your financial wellness muscles. To gain FREE additional access to money management tools and info, visit alabamaone.org/personal/financialwellness.

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