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How do you manage your spending during the holiday season?

Posted by on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM
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3 moms liked this

For many of us, the holiday season is an important one when it comes to spending and budgeting for gifts, family travel, and planning for the next year, so we asked five moms who have a Chase credit card to create a Chase Blueprint plan and use it to help manage their budgeting, spending and borrowing during the holiday season. Read what they have to say about using Chase Blueprint and how they aim to be smarter seasonal spenders. As a thank you for participating, we gave each of the five moms a $200 Chase gift card.

What's your tip for managing your spending this holiday season?

by on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM
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Replies (1-10):
jaedynmoon
by Member on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Hi everyone! I'm Jennifer and was asked to be a Chase Blueprint Influencer. I wanted to tell you all about why I use my credit card and how I make the most out of it, especially around the holiday season. I use (and love!) the Chase Freedom credit card and have been using this card since May 2011.

The holidays are always a great time to create a budget and stick to it. Nothing worse than the January hangover of Christmas bills! We buy for 13 people (not including our little 3 person family) so setting a budget is very important to get through Christmas shopping and having our budget stay positive for the month. We always get everyone a little something for a gift and I make a goody bag of homemade treats to go with the gifts as a little extra something. This helps me save money because I'm not feeling the pressure to purchase a more expensive gift because I am giving the recipient multiple smaller gifts to enjoy.

My husband and I use our Chase Freedom card for all our monthly purchases so we can earn credit card reward points to transfer into cash back or gift cards. We build up the reward points through the year and cash them in to help with holiday shopping. We pay off our balance every month so running a balance is never an issue with us.

Our household is a one income household so managing expenses and sticking to a monthly budget is crucial for being able to stay positive each month and put money away into savings. To manage all our monthly expenses (mortgage, utilities, student loan payments, and all credit card purchases) we currently use an online service called Mint. To manage our Chase Freedom purchases (household purchases, gas, any shopping, and groceries) we use a combination of Chase's Blueprint service and Mint. These tools allow us to track our spending and see where our money is going each month. I love that Chase offers the Blueprint services to help track my spending, especially during the holiday season. It helps me to not over spend by being the fastest updated budgeting tools I use. I can see my pending charges right away and know where my money is going. Thanks for your time and if you have any questions please ask away!   

lalasmama2007
by on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Hi!  I'm Ticia, a SAHM from Pennsylvania.  I have been a Chase Freedom cardholder since 2004!  I mostly use my Chase Freedom card for everyday purchases, such as groceries, clothing, prescriptions, etc.  I also like to use this card for larger purchases, such as appliances or vacations because I earn rewards points for using the card.  As the holidays approach, my biggest challenge is staying within a budget.  We generally host two dinners and a party at our house over the holidays.  When you add up the cost of food, drinks, gifts, etc., it is very easy to spend more than you anticipate.  I have enrolled for Chase Blueprint to hopefully keep myself within our budget.   It's great how it breaks down what you've purchased, so you can get an overview on your spending.   I'm looking forward to seeing the results on my next statement.  


12/13- I'm still waiting to receive my credit card statement.  I'm anxious to see what it looks like this month!

12/14- I just received my statement today.  It's very easy to read and understand.


 I set up Full Pay which allows you to designate categories to avoid interest when you pay them in full each month.  I decided to select Grocery Stores as my pay in full category.  The statement shows me that I made $144.24 in grocery store purchases and in order to stay on track with my Blueprint Plan I need to pay $160.84 to satisfy the mimum payment due.  Blueprint was very easy to set up.  It only took a few minutes.  I can see how this could tremendously help out each month by not paying interest on those little everyday purchases.  

LS1030
by Member on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Hello! I'm Lynn and I've had the Chase Freedom credit card for several years. I use this credit card for most of my purchases, like my monthly bills, gifts and everyday purchases like lunch and groceries. My husband also has a card for this account that he uses frequently. When making most purchases, I almost always choose to use my Chase card so I can earn Ultimate Reward points!

When considering how to pay for large purchases, I will either use my Chase card if it's within my balance constraints or split the purchase between cash and credit or 2 credit cards. It really depends of the purchase and our situation at the time. Because I use my credit card to pay for monthly bills and everyday purchases, I manage my expenses by actively monitoring my credit card usage. Each month I only have to pay one amount out of my bank account for all my bills! I have a certain amount that I prefer not to go over, so I just log into my account frequently to make sure I am below that amount.

My biggest budget challenge this time of year is something I'm sure everyone can agree with...Holiday sales, gifts, parties, food...it all adds up fast! We also love going to Disney World this time of year! This year will be even worse since it's my baby's first Christmas! I try to use coupons, discount codes or cash back programs, but sometimes it's difficult to pass up a good deal on something I've been wanting. I will be paying extra attention to my expenses this year since my husband now works from home to take care of our son, so I hope that Chase Blueprint helps with this! 


**UPDATE**

Now, that I've received my Chase statement, it's time to update with my thoughts on setting up and reviewing Blueprint! I signed up for Chase Blueprint on my chase Freedom Credit Card last month. I chose to review/set up 2 of the 4 Blueprint features as they most closely relate to my financial needs/situation.

The first thing I set up was the Full Pay feature, which allowed me to select certain categories of purchases that I would like to pay off in full each month in the case that I am not able to pay the entire outstanding balance. I typically pay off my entire balance each month, but around the holidays it may get difficult to do so when adding gift purchases onto the card. This will prevent me from paying interest on those categories. For example, some of the categories I chose were restaurants, entertainment because I don't want to pay interest on small items like a fast food meal or a coffee. Keep in mind that your rate is still the same no matter what category is ourstanding. So essentially if you carry a balance of $200 to the next month, you will still get charged the same in interest no matter what...but it's all about whether you feel better paying that interest on a small coffee or a larger purchase, like a television.

It was super simple to set this up and took just a few short minutes. After I signed up for Blueprint last month, a new Blueprint link now appears on my Chase home page.

I clicked on the link and it brings me to my Blueprint page, where I can select where to go next from the 4 Blueprint options. I selected Full Pay and a list of available categories appeared, so I went down the line and checked off the categories I wanted to make sure to pay in full each month. Easy peasy.

Next, to feed my curiosity, I went to Track It, where I could see the amounts I've spent in every category each month. It's amazing how small amounts sure do add up over the course of a month....or year! This tool is FANTASTIC for looking at areas to reduce spending and give you a reality check if you've always just guessed at how much you spend each month. I was able to go back each month and see totals for each category, as well as charts that showed my spending habits over the year. It was helpful to look at how our spending had changed from the beginning half of the year before Trent was born and Brett worked outside of the home, to the second half of the year after Trent was born and Brett started working from home. Our savings from him not using as much gas in his car went right to electricity in our home! 

My favorite feature was the Track It because although I don't monitor activity on a daily basis, I can now see how much we spend where and how I can improve in any particular category going forward. This will also help with planning a budget to see when during the year I might have random expenses and also to see how much I spend during the holidays. I probably need a category just for Amazon alone!!

I didn't set up the Split or Finish It features because I don't have any large purchase that I want to set up a plan for and I'm currently not carrying a balance. 

Blueprint appears on my statement on the front page in a separate box and includes the minimum payment I would need to pay in order to 1) stay current on my card and 2) follow my Blueprint plan.

Overall, I think Blueprint is an amazing free addition to Chase cardholders to help with their various financial needs. Many people have a stigma about credit cards and with Blueprint, they can take a step towards feeling like they are in control and use this tool to their advantage for planning purposes.


 


dixiegurl223626
by Member on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

My name is Dixie and I have the Chase Slate card and have been a Chase customer since November 2006. I usually use my card for larger purchases or emergency purchases, but I have also used it for everyday purchases as well. Most recently I used my Chase card on a Macbook Pro. I charged $600 and paid cash for the rest of the amount due. I also used my Chase card at Target for groceries and some early Christmas shopping recently. I prefer to pay for large purchases with cash or split the payment between cash and charge the rest to my Chase card. I like to pay cash for everyday purchases like groceries, gas, or the occasional eating out. I manage my expenses by keeping a record of every shopping trip and monthly bills and how much was paid. This allows us to help predict the bills for the rest of the year and budget accordingly. There will always be a variance somewhere whether its new tires or gas prices increasing or decreasing or even the price changes in food or an unexpected medical bill. We always try to stay within the limits we have set when it comes to our spending. The Chase card is a great resource for those unexpected medical bills or the occasional want that we may splurge on such as my new MacBook. The biggest budgeting challege this time of the year is keeping within our holiday budget. We usually spend more during the holidays than we plan to, but we have saved extra money this year for that reason and are comfortable spending more than planned for the occasion. I'm watching the papers for sales on the items my husband and son have asked for for Christmas. I'm more likely to buy if there is a coupon for a purchase or bonus with the purchase so I can get more for my money. I also plan to use coupons at grocery stores that double and triple coupons to save money on our holiday meals so I will have more to spend elsewhere. I'm excited about Black Friday shopping and go every year to shop the amazing deals! Its great to know my Chase card is there for those extra purchases if needed.


*Update*

I'm glad I decided to set up Blueprint because it is so easy to set up and only takes a couple of minutes.. There are 4 great plans to choose from with Blueprint. The Full Pay Plan is awesome because you can choose categories such as groceries, gas, utilities, or anything else you may want to choose that you can pay off in full each month to avoid paying interest on those items. The Finish It Plan is great if you want to pay off your balance fast and with a set plan that you can change at any time without a penalty. You choose how much you want to pay each month or how fast you would like your balance paid off and you can see your progress on your statement and watch the balance decrease! The Track It Plan keeps your purchases organized in categories and you can see your transactions and spending history. You can set budgets for certain categories such as groceries, restaurants, gas stations, or other categories and Track It will let you set a budget and will let you compare your spending with your budget and you can see how closely you are staying within your budget. My favorite is the Split It Plan because you can create a split plan to pay off a large purchase and I tend to make large purchases often. I set up the Split it Plan to work on paying off the portion I charged to my card for a Best Buy purchase which is $600. With this plan you can choose how many payments you would like to make on the purchase and the plan sets up the payment amount and it includes your minimum monthly payment. The statement shows a projected end date for the plan along with how many payments are left and a percentage bar to show your progress. Here is my Split Payment example:

If for some reason you choose to pay less or more than what you set up with your plan, there are no penalties. I do plan to use the Split it Plan again for my future large purchases after I pay this one off. I think I will also use the Track it Plan and set a budget for the new year and to monitor my spending. These are some great tools to help keep track of money and spending.


tamidawn
by Member on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Hi, I'm Tami.  I have a Chase Freedom card.  I have had it for about 1 year. I usually use my Chase Freedom card for everyday purchases.  I love earning the Ultimate Rewards Points.  I have cashed them out once already and it was pretty awesome.  I also just signed up for the cash back option.  I am excited to try that out.  I tend to only use my Chase card for smaller purchases so that I can keep track of my spending and not let it get out of control.  I try to keep a balance of my expenses so that I can stay within my limit, but around this time of year my Chase card really helps out with the little extra expenses.  Also, using my Chase card is a way to keep it a secret from my husband as to where his gifts were purchased from!  :) All those gifts add up very fast!  

I looked around on the website a little and set up my Blue Print.  I'm really excited to see how it works!  Looks pretty simple so far.


UPDATE: 

I received my statement in the mail a couple days ago.  I was very interested to see how it would look after setting up the Blueprint options.  The process of setting up my Blueprint plan was so easy!!  I wish I would have done it sooner!  In only a few minutes I was able to make a goal using the Blueprint plan, and now I know that I can pay off my balance in a reasonable amount of time.   When I was setting up my plan, it went over what I would like to pay off and how much time I want to allow to get the balance paid off.  

My statement was very easy to read and included the amount I set up online.  It told me what my minimum is, as well as my Blueprint amount. It was very, very easy to locate on my statement.  If you cannot afford to pay the total Blueprint amount, you still have the option to only pay the minimum due, and I am assuming that the Blueprint amounts would be readjusted the next month so that you can still try to reach your goal.  I am most excited about "Finish It" because I have a plan set up now to actually pay off a balance completely!  Full Pay is going to be so nice, especially during this time of year because it allows you to set up catagories that you don't have to pay interest on.  You pay those items first and avoid interest.  Split it will also be handy because it allows you to set up a plan to pay off a large purchase.  Overall, I love Blueprint so far!  I am able to catagorize and monitor my spending better, and when I use my card, I can set up a plan to keep my family's spending organized.

itsblissmas
by on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:30 PM
1 mom liked this

 Paper, paper, paper. LOL! I HAVE to make lists and I MUST have everything in front of my face (hard copy) so I can see EXACTLY what is going on. It just works best for me that way. =)

momto3isme
by Dawn on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:31 PM
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Don't charge anything you can't pay off when the bill comes in the mail.

bamababe1975
by Member on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:37 PM

 We set up a budget and plan for that accordingly.

bamababe1975
by Member on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:37 PM

 Excellent advice!

Quoting momto3isme:

Don't charge anything you can't pay off when the bill comes in the mail.

 



gacgbaker
by Member on Nov. 8, 2012 at 1:26 PM
2 moms liked this

We have a money that we set aside each month for the holidays, once that money is gone, it's gone, so we don't spend what we don't have.  

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