The holidays can be quite expensive, but they don’t have to be if you are mindful of how of your spending habits for the holidays. Halloween hasn’t even passed and retailers are already prepping their store for the holiday season. I don’t know about you but I am tired of starting my new year with a pile of debt from all the shopping consumed during the holidays.
So to prevent this from happening this year it’s time to shop smart and enjoy the festivities without ending you in the red, just because the holiday season is near doesn’t mean that you need to stray from your budget. Now is the time to sit down and map out a holiday spending plan to keep your savings on track. In this blog, we will be discussing ways to keep holiday spending from going off track. Note, this post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure
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Here are our tips to increase savings during the holiday without leading you straight into debt. To start this process you are going to have to be realistic about the holiday and include everything from postage for holiday card from travel to the smallest party favors for co-workers and even home decor. The more upfront you are with these numbers the better your savings will be for the holiday season.
Create a Budget
There are a couple of ways to set a good holiday budget, but before we get into that it’s time to get real and don’t fall into the holiday hoopla. Set some time, free from distractions and see how much money you currently have set aside for the holidays. This will help you spend less, by figuring out what your cap is so you don’t go over your spending limit before stepping foot in a store or shopping online. You need to set a budget and limits that you are willing to stick to without caving the urge to shop and rack up your credit cards.
A cash budget works best because you only have so much money to work with. If you spend all of your cash, then you won’t be able to purchase anything else. This method can help separate your “wants” from your “needs” when shopping
. With this method, you want to think of it as money you can responsible spend that isn’t going to your bills. If you want to have a little more to spend then just what’s left over at the end of the month. You may also want to eliminate those morning lattes or protein bars from your normal routine the next few months to add extra cash to your holiday budget. Forget about eating out every week and cook meals at home. Walk to your work if possible or take public transportation or even use a CITI bike
. Avoid spending your money on clothes if you really don’t need them. Pack your lunch from the leftovers for work and bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying something from a vending machine. I am a huge BJ shopper so we buy in bulk and I individually bag snack items in reusable baggies for the kids and for us to take to work.
While this may seem insignificant, all these little transactions can quickly add up to extra bucks you can use in the long run. By cutting out indulgences where you can and switching to a low-cost alternative, you can take the money you save and directly use it for holiday spending. You may want to think of the items you are willing and able to sacrifice that will increase your spending without dipping into your rent money or result in you using your credit card. If you can follow these tips, when your holiday bank statements arrive in the New Year, you’ll find yourself singing joyfully all over again.
Find ways to cut back right now
There are lots of little things you can do that may help you to save money now and well into the future. Even if you can only find $100 extra dollars to spend, that’s still $100 more than what you had before.
- Get rid of your cable.
- Find a more affordable cell phone plan.
- Eat out less. Eat out just one or two times less this month and then you’ll have more holiday spending money!
- Negotiate your car and home insurance bills.
- Suspend/Cancel your gym membership.
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Gifts don’t always need to have a monetary value. Spending time with your friends and family is a great present especially when you haven’t seen them in a while. Base your gift buying on sentiment rather than dollar value and avoid giving yourself a year-round debt headache. For us we are starting this tradition and have set a date with all our friends to hang out in our home, our goal is to catch up, bake cookies and enjoy the time with each other. Since our daily routines sometimes prohibit us from even talking or texting for more than a few seconds, we think a day together would be fantastic and mean far more than purchasing a gift.
Coupons are your friend
While seasonal sales are amazing they aren’t the only way to get fantastic deals on the gift item you want for your friends or family. Before shopping online, perform a quick web search for coupon codes and promotions for your favorite stores. Before you shop in your local stores, comb through their circular as well as the newspapers for coupons. The best part is most stores now do price match guarantee making you able to get the item cheaper than what the stores are selling it for on top of using a coupon. Savings of $10 to $50 can happen by keeping your eyes open and in search for great deals.
Make a list be sure to check it twice
Be sure to write down everyone you plan to buy a gift for, no matter how small the gift may be. Include ideas of what to give each person, along with the maximum amount you are willing to spend on them. Don’t forget to list the people who will receive holiday tips as well such as your doorman, babysitter, and mail carrier. This will help you manage your holiday budget. Go through it again and cut names or amounts. Once you settle on a dollar amount for each person, that’s it. To save in the long run, you want to focus on the amount you’ll spend, not what you’ll buy. If you can’t afford a sweater, get something else, if you have a special craft, try to utilize it as a gift as well. Since we bake we are incorporating small care packages of special treats for the kid’s teachers and other small businesses we work with.
Alternative Creative Options
Do you want to give someone a gift but don’t have the money? Baking an extra batch of cookies or brownies is economical or that neighborhood that looks like she can use an extra hand you can offer to babysit for a few hours, Or even taking her elderly parents on an outing so her and hubby can have a date night. The cost is next to nothing, but the gift and appreciation behind it, is priceless.
Secret Santa or White Elephant Method
This is something that we do with my husband’s family. The younger children still get gifts from everyone, but all of the adults just do an exchange. It makes it much easier and more enjoyable! Plus, you’ll be able to put more thought into a gift as you’ll just be giving one.
Start saving early
Don’t wait until Black Friday to start buying holiday gifts. Keep your eyes open all year round for items friends and family would like; it’s often when you’re not looking for something specific you stumble across the perfect gift for a loved one. Once December hits, you’ll be glad that you already have some gifts in tow, just be sure to keep all your advance gifts in a designated hiding place that is easy to remember so when December hits you are not scrambling looking for it.
Do your Research
If you’re unsure of which specific item to buy search for reputable online reviews. Consumerreports.
org has hundreds of expert reviews on everything from laptops to baby strollers to breakfast cereals. You may have to pay a small fee for the full review. Or check sites such as Amazon.com
, to find out which products have the most positive feedback with high user reviews and ratings you are able to get a well-balanced review on a product. To find the best online price, use a comparison shopping site, such as Pricegrabber.com
Every Penny Counts
By saving a little bit of money each day, each week, or even each month right now, you’ll make the sting of holiday season spending a little less painful, as you’ll already have saved and budgeted for it. While some tip won’t necessarily work fully for this holiday season, you can start saving and preparing for 2018 Holiday season. Even joining a Holiday club with your bank now will ensure for an amazing holiday season next year. Keep this option in mind if you are unable to start this year.
Another way is to take part in a holiday savings challenge, such as saving $20 a week. Think about it we spend $20 or more a week when we buy lunch and breakfast outside. Saving $20 a week is a great way to save over a $1000 in a year. All you have to do is save $20 each week for a year, and then you’ll easily have the money you need for the holidays, capital one 360 is a great place to start the saving challenge by putting money aside every week helps to prevent feeling overwhelmed or overstretched by the end of the year
Lastly, remember the true meaning of the season
No matter what holiday you celebrate, remember the real reason for the season. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to be happy this year but, instead, think about spending that time with the ones who love you. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, keeping the holiday’s spiritual message at forefront and center instead of spending your weekends leading up to your holiday in the malls fighting with chasiers and other customers over prices and products or hovering over your computer refreshing the page to get the hottest item that are sold out, it would be a lot better spending time with the ones you love.
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