There seems to be a lot of pent-up energy in anticipation of the holidays this year. With everything that we all have endured over the past couple years, the temptation to overspend is rampant. Maybe even more this year than before, it seems everywhere messages bombard us to make the holidays perfect. If they are not careful, your members can overstretch their budgets and quickly get into trouble. But, through the beauty of your social media and other communications tools, you can help prevent disaster for your member.
The biggest tip you can give is to help members truly consider their overall holiday budget, encouraging them to be wise in how much they plan to spend. They should ask, are gifts absolutely necessary? Or are there other ways to enjoy the holidays without spending on unneeded gifts? Perhaps a potluck dinner, a desert party, or a holiday movie viewing instead of gifts among friends. Or volunteering as a family instead of extra presents.
If gifts are a must-do, then much like many credit unions did when the pandemic first hit, there are tools you can give your members to help manage their spending over the holidays to help keep them financially fit.
Skip-a-Payment programs – Credit unions that offer this member benefit should utilize all their social media channels to promote it. By giving your members the option of skipping a loan payment, you are helping them free up money for the holidays they might not have otherwise, and thus, possibly prevent them from using credit cards or other options that will hurt their budgets.
Short-term personal loans – similar to skip-a-payment, if your credit union offers a small dollar amount loan around the holidays, promote, promote, promote it! Giving your members an alternative to payday lenders is a huge benefit and allows them to access the money they need during the holidays without the long-term payment issues of payday lenders.
Alternatives to “big-dollar” gifts – use your credit union’s blog, or Facebook to promote fun alternatives, or budget-friendly gift ideas. There are plenty of ideas out there to tap into. You can work with a DIYer to post ideas for making items like bath salts, sugar scrubs, cookies or other craft ideas that will give your members options for gifts that will be well-received without breaking the bank.
Budgeting tips – even though the holidays are already here, and people are spending, now is still a good time to help members remember basic budgeting tips. You can use your credit union’s blog or Facebook to post an article or link a series of tips to the article via Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. These reminders can help members stay focused and, perhaps keep them from derailing from their budgets.
Financial seminars – use this time to promote any upcoming financial seminars your credit union might be offering. If your members are thinking ahead, and planning to attend one of these classes, it may help them stay on task and get the next year off to a better start.
Your credit union’s social media channels are a tremendous tool to help keep members on track during the holidays. There are a lot of messages out there urging them to spend money they may not have. Make your message the one of reason that helps them stay on the path to financial security.