A smiling woman wearing glasses and dressed for winter checksher smartphone while carrying a holiday gift.
A smiling woman wearing glasses and dressed for winter checksher smartphone while carrying a holiday gift.
Financial Health
December 13, 2019

8 tips for savvy holiday spending

With the holiday season in full swing, Wells Fargo offers tips on how to use mobile and online banking features to track spending and help protect account information.

Shoppers expect to spend about 4% more this holiday season than in 2018 — more than $727 billion overall and $659 on average for gifts, according to the National Retail Federation. Just as online shopping has become a holiday mainstay — the NRF says 56% of consumers plan to shop online in 2019 — Katherine McGee, head of Digital in Wells Fargo Virtual Channels, said technology gives shoppers increasingly powerful capabilities to monitor spending and protect account information.

“It’s great to be able to point, click, tap, swipe, and buy as you shop on the go,” McGee said. “And these days, a variety of digital tools, including in your mobile banking app, can be like having a virtual holiday assistant along to help you manage and protect your money.”

Wells Fargo recommends the following tips for managing spending and protecting your account information during the holidays:

A smiling man looks at his laptop and holds a pen. The words

Set an expense budget. Remember: The people receiving your gifts would not want you to spend more than you can afford. If your budget is tight, suggest drawing names for gift giving. Additionally, handmade gifts can be a more personal and cost-saving alternative.

Stick to the same bill-paying and savings habits. Keep your finances on track by setting up customized account alerts — such as when a deposit is made or if there’s a low balance — to help you avoid late fees and overdrafts. Additionally, the predictive banking feature within the Wells Fargo Mobile® app gives you personalized insights into your spending and savings, including reminders of upcoming bill payments.

Make a list, and check it twice. Write down everything you need to buy before going shopping, and stick to your list and budget to stay within your spending limit.

Track your spending. Budgeting doesn’t have to be difficult. Wells Fargo’s My Spending Report (available when you sign on to your account on or the Wells Fargo Mobile® app) itemizes your daily spending by automatically organizing purchases and payments into categories. This can help you determine where you are spending more than budgeted and where you can save within your Wells Fargo accounts.

Review recurring payments for potential savings. Make sure that you’re paying for things you actually use by reviewing your recurring payments. Wells Fargo customers can use the Control Tower® digital experience to view recurring payments associated with Wells Fargo debit and credit cards to see if they’re paying for things they no longer use or need (for example, magazine subscriptions and gym memberships). Customers can choose to cancel those services directly with the merchants, freeing up cash for holiday spending or saving.

A smiling woman prepares to touch the screen of hertablet device. The words

Be careful what you disclose. Be wary of suspicious holiday offers or requests for personal or financial information by email, text message, phone, or website. If you’re leery about a request for your information, verify that the request is legitimate by calling the number on the company’s website or billing statement.

Monitor purchase activity. Remember to regularly monitor your transactions online and report suspicious charges promptly, especially when you’re shopping and spending more than usual. Enroll in online and mobile banking so you can view a snapshot of your accounts while on the go and monitor your purchase activity online from home.

Ensure you’re protected. Check with your financial institution to ensure you’re covered if funds are removed from your account without your permission. Wells Fargo cardholders are protected by our Zero Liability protection. This means that a cardholder is not liable for any unauthorized transactions made at merchants, over the phone, on the internet, or at the ATM, when promptly reported.