Holiday Confidence Guide

Holiday vibes only

This time of year means holiday vibes only! SunTrust is here to help you feel financially confident by making some small changes to your holiday budget. Here you’ll find tips for spending and saving this season and beyond so you can truly enjoy the holidays.

You’ll see how others are shopping, traveling, celebrating and giving … but still saving. You’ll quickly learn how to think differently, spend more thoughtfully and enjoy the holiday vibes. Ready to get started?

Preseason prep

Taking simple steps early on can help your financial confidence this season.

Start by setting a budget for your holiday spending. Think about what’s on your to-do list—from planning and attending parties, to surprising friends and family with the perfect gifts—and let yourself get excited.

Customize your budget with line items 
for those expenses so you can make a plan for your holiday funds. Then, grow your savings account by setting up auto pay to put a little away for the holidays each paycheck. Starting to
save earlier means you can shop earlier—giving your budget some room to breathe. In fact, 33 percent of shoppers shop year-round to save.2

By investing in a little prep time at the beginning of the holiday season—or as early as you can—you can say no to stress and yes to rest.

Holiday travel

Whether you’re hitting the road to Grandma’s house or hopping on a flight for a fun getaway, travel is a big part of holiday plans. And for many, that means spending money on everything from luggage fees to tolls.

If you’re flying, find smart ways to save by shopping around for airfare and knowing the best days to book. And make sure your car is road-worthy by investing in regular maintenance if your travel plans include the open road.

Say you’re traveling from Atlanta to New York for Thanksgiving. In 2017, according to USA Today, the cheapest day to book a flight was Monday, with an average round-trip cost of $304.3

  • 4 weeks out $283
  • 3 weeks out $288
  • 2 weeks out $304
  • 1 week out $275

For Christmas, the cheapest day to book your flight was Sunday, and the average round trip was $292.3

  • 4 weeks out $262
  • 3 weeks out $242
  • 2 weeks out $299
  • 1 week out $331

The hostess with the most-ess

Talking and laughing with loved ones is likely one thing you picture when thinking about your best holiday life, right? If you’re hosting this year, here are some easy ways to cut the fat from your spending.

Hosting the big meal? Consider doing BYOD (bring your own dish) and ask friends or family members to bring different types of dishes. If you plan your menu far enough ahead, you can shop around and price compare. And when it comes to centerpieces, keep it natural. Step outside and use leaves, pinecones or boxwood clippings from your yard. Everyone can appreciate a fresh, natural look.

Hosting a party? Move the start time to an after-dinner hour and serve snacks (think: meat and cheese—yum) instead
 of a sit-down meal. You can also swap the fancy cocktails for a big bowl of a festive drink everyone will love. You’ll likely save on expenses and won’t have to man the bar (so more time for mingling with your guests). And if you plan to send invites, consider emailing digital versions to save money on stationery and postage (and help save a tree, too).

Shop till you drop?

Get ahead of your holiday shopping by starting with a strategy. Use a gift budget to plan your purchases before hitting the store or shopping online. Keep an eye out for sales and know which deal days are the best for your big purchases (think: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.).

If you find the perfect gift for someone, splurge knowingly by adjusting your spending limits for others on your list. A good rule of thumb? It’s the thought that counts, not the price tag. Seriously! For example, you could learn how to knit and make your friend who is always cold a cozy scarf. There are tons of ways to show you care without breaking the bank. And according to InMarket, December 13 is typically the least-crowded day for stores during the holiday season, so you may want to mark your calendar now. Here are some other key days to keep in mind.

Beating the postseason blues

When the frenzy of the “holidaze” finally quiets down, take time to review your finances and feel thankful for all the ways you’ve shopped smart, saved big and set yourself up for financial confidence in the year ahead.

Now is the time to also start thinking about financial resolutions. Want to pay off debt, take that trip abroad or save for a down payment? Empower yourself by setting tangible targets and holding yourself accountable throughout the year.

Many Americans who make a financial resolution to save more do so to get closer their long-term goals.8 What’s more, 76 percent predicted they would be better off financially in 2018.9

By building on the good vibes and financial habits you created
this holiday season, you can
set yourself up to keep living confidently all year-round.

Happy holidays from SunTrust!

Spend less time worrying about your finances and more time with the ones you love during the holidays.

1 “2017 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report,” Nov. 13, 2017, NerdWallet

2 “Most Americans set, then exceed, a holiday budget,” Oct. 12, 2017, USA Today Money

3 “When’s the best time to book holiday flights?” Aug. 23, 2017, USA Today Money

4 “Record number of Americans to travel during Christmas holiday: AAA,” Dec. 14, 2017, Reuters

5 “A Look at Family Travel for the 2017 Holiday Season,” Nov. 27, 2017

6 “Farm Bureau Survey Reveals Lowest Thanksgiving Dinner Cost in Five Years,” Nov. 16, 2017, American Farm Bureau Federation

7 “Thanksgiving vs. Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: What to Buy Each Day,” 2017, DealNews

8 “Fact Sheet: The Fidelity Investments® 2017 New Year Financial Resolutions Study,” 2017, Fidelity Investments

9 “At an All-Time High, Financial New Year's Resolutions are at an All-Time Low, According to Fidelity® Study,” Dec. 8, 2017, Fidelity 

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