Oof, as if the stress of having friends and family around isn't enough, you have to think about spending less money too! The holiday season is a time for joy and celebration, but it can also be a time of financial stress.
Fear not; I'll share my tips and tricks and show you ten ways to cut back on spending during the holidays.
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How To Save During The Holidays
1. Set Up a Holiday Budget
Have a budget and stick to it. Have an honest look at your finances and be honest about the amount you can afford to earmark for the holidays.
Compile your budget and then plan how much you can spend on, for example, the following:
Assign a dollar amount to each item on your list. Also, include a buffer amount in case something unexpected comes up.
2. Make a Gift Shopping List (and stick to it)
Make a list of all the people you want to buy gifts for.
Write down how much you can spend on each person, not what you want to buy.
Once you know how much you can spend per person, it's much easier to shop for them.
If you're unhappy with the amounts you reserved, you can spend less per person or shorten your list.
3. Rethink Traditions
Why not shake things up this year? Instead of doing the same-old, same-old, look into some alternative gift ideas, activities, and get-togethers.
Fun alternatives can include:
Impose a moderate spending limit
Buy one gift the whole family can use
Give baked goods
Use Canva to make personalized e-cards
DIY jewelry, pottery, candles, soaps, or festive ornaments
You can find plenty of tutorials and inspiration online, and you may even discover a new hobby in the process.
4. Pay Cash
Once you've decided on your holiday budget - withdraw the amount in cash and stick to your spending plan.
Once the money is no more, so is your shopping.
Get yourself a pretty cash book to keep things organized.
If you prefer shopping online, use a prepaid card with a limited amount loaded onto the card.
5. Be Cautious with Credit Cards
Do your research here. Only spend amounts you can pay off in full or quickly. Pick a card that has the lowest interest rate.
Use cashback apps and credit card rewards. Many credit cards offer cashback or rewards points for purchases, which can add up quickly. Additionally, there are several cashback apps available that allow you to earn money back on your purchases.
Read the terms and conditions carefully and avoid overspending just to earn rewards.
It is 100% recommended that you DON'T rack up debt during the holidays. Who wants that stress going into the new year? Not me, and since you're reading this, certainly not you.
6. Take Advantage of Free Shipping Day
During the holiday season, many retailers offer sales and discounts to attract shoppers.
We all know how this story goes - you're merrily 'adding-to-cart' without a care in the world, and then BOOM! - you forgot about the shipping costs.
Order from stores that offer free shipping and save a few $$ here and there.
7. Give the Gift of Your Time
How cheesy is this?! Let me give you some ideas anyway.
Walk the dog
Run some errands
Wash their car
Tend to their garden
Organize their garage
Clear their email inbox
If you have a specific, useful skill - offer it as a gift.
8. Thoughtful Gifts
Most people enjoy thoughtful, practical gifts. It doesn't need to be expensive. It doesn't need to be big.
Buy something someone will use. Take the time to consider the person's interests, needs, and preferences, and choose a gift that will be meaningful and cherished.
Thoughtful gifts show that you know the person and have studied them and picked something personalized to them - amazing.
9. Choose an Experience
Instead of gifts, choose a (free) experience and go and enjoy it together.
Picnic in the park
Holiday music, plays, concerts
Host a game or movie night
A (winter) hike
Random acts of kindness
10. Clean your Closet
Or your house. One man's trash is another man's treasure. You can set up a yard sale without the sale part.
Hang out clothes you don't wear, collect those side tables you never use or the napkins you've only used once, toys your kids don't play with anymore...you get where I'm going with this.
Then have your people come and choose an item or two for free!
It saves you the trip to the donation box, and you've decluttered like a pro.
The Bottom Line
The holidays do not have to be a stressful time. If you have people in your life who genuinely care about you, they won't mind requests to cut back or that you decline invitations because it doesn't fit in your budget. So be mindful of your spending and enter the new year with money to spare!