We are quickly heading into the holiday season. With that comes the barrage of advertising and other messages that encourage spending, and overspending. Credit cards, lay-away and other offers make it tempting and easy to spend more than people have. Couple that with constant sales emails, special shopping days, social media promotions, and free shipping – and the messages are mesmerizing. Without careful planning, members can overstretch their budgets and quickly get into trouble. But, as your members’ best financial partner, you can be a voice of calm this season, using your social media and other communications tools to help prevent financial disaster.
Budgeting tips – there is still time to help your members remember basic budgeting tips. Encourage saving between now and the official start of the holidays to encourage using cash and not credit for gifts. 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.
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.
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 voice of reason that helps them stay on the path to financial security.