Jason Gaughan
Bank of America credit cards executive

As the Consumer Card Product Executive at Bank of America, Jason Gaughan works with his team of dedicated associates to deliver best in class products that meet clients’ financial needs. Gaughan has more than 25 years’ experience implanting strategies and services that help empower customers financially.

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An Expert’s Guide to Holiday Spending

By Jason Gaughan, Bank of America credit cards executive
Advertorial Disclosure

The winter holidays come with traditions, excitement and, for many, increased spending. Last holiday season, the average American spent nearly $1,200 on retail and $565 on travel, according to Bank of America customer spending data.

Here are a few of my favorite tips to take advantage of your planned gifting and travel spending during the most wonderful time of the year.

FOR THE SHOPPER

Americans differ on when they do their holiday shopping. Our recent survey found 14% wrap purchases even before Black Friday. But what’s consistent: smart shopping can make purchases go further.

Set a budget

It’s easy to get carried away with deals left and right, white elephant parties to buy for and forgotten (but obligatory) gift recipients. Decide what you’re willing and able to spend and stick to it. Doing this successfully means noting the money you have coming in and keeping track of where it goes when it leaves your account.

Play to the deals

Last Cyber Monday, 61% of electronics purchases were made online, according to our data. If you’re planning to purchase big-ticket electronics, reserve your “add to cart” for Cyber Monday when deals sweep the internet.

Think creatively about gifting your loved ones

A rewards card’s redemptions can offer unique gifts during the holidays, especially with flexible options like the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card. For a thoughtful gift that doesn’t break the bank, redeem existing points for travel gift cards or as a contribution to your child’s 529 account.

FOR THE TRAVELER

Our recent survey showed 40% of people plan to travel for the holidays – with 20% going international. Whether booking a trip to Grandma’s or an island away from it all, there are simple ways to be rewarded for holiday travel.

Don’t overlook Cyber Monday

With a mad rush to online clothing and electronics stores, consumers forget many airlines have deals for the online holiday as well. In fact, Cyber Monday had the most airline purchases of any day in 2018, according to our data.

Layer deals with travel rewards

Our survey showed 45% of people don’t use a rewards card when booking a trip, leaving rewards on the table. If you have one, use a frequent flyer number (layer #1) and pay with a rewards card like the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card (layer #2), where Preferred Rewards members earn 25% to 75% more points on every purchase (layer #3). This way, you’re maximizing the return on your spending and getting the most out of your tools available.

Create your own rideshare

If you’re heading in the same direction as a classmate, friend or coworker, offer to carpool. The average American spent $261 on gas last holiday season, but splitting the cost, and the drive, can make for a more enjoyable trip.

BOTTOM LINE

The holidays can be expensive but knowing the right tools can leave you feeling financially stable. With a strategy in place, you’re in for joyous holidays and a happy new year.

This is a sponsored post by Bank of America as part of Wise Bread's continued partnership with them.