The holidays are just around the corner and everyone is searching for ways to save money during this festive season. The holiday season is the most expensive time of the year. It is easy to overspend during the holidays as your emotions can run high and guide your purchasing decisions during the holiday season. However, you can save money and enjoy the holidays without sacrificing any of your holiday experience. If you want to spend less and enjoy the holidays, here are 12 ways to save money during the holidays.
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Create a Holiday Budget
You can save money during the holidays if you spend wisely. That is where a holiday budget comes in. Ideally, your holiday spending should come from the cash you have available now or by the time the holidays roll around. If you are planning to cover some or all of the holiday-related costs using your plastic, make sure you fully repay them within three months to save on interest and potential fees (if applicable).
A holiday budget helps you to avoid overspending. Without a budget, you can spend more and go into debt. So, create a holiday budget and stick to it so that you can spend within your means. Grab our FREE budget binder here to help you stay organized.
Make a List and Check It Twice
Once you have figured out how much to spend, make a list of people and things you need to spend money on. Set a maximum dollar amount for each person and thing on the list, based on your spending limits. You can even write down what gifts you intend to buy for each person on the list.
Now total up planned spending on gift purchases, parties, food, decorations, and travel. This is the amount you are planning to spend during this holiday season. Compare your planned holiday spending to the cash you have available for holiday spending now or by the time the holidays roll around.
If your expected holiday expenses based on this list exceed your holiday budget, then you will have to trim your list.
Trim Your List and Stick to It
You can save money and spend within your means by trimming your holiday shopping list. Do you really need to buy a gift for everyone on the list? Is it necessary to give a gift to your boss or your children’s teachers? Or does every member of your friend’s family really need a present from you?
Now that you have checked your list twice to eliminate some names and things off the list, stick to it to save money. Take the list with you while you go shopping to make sure that you are spending for people and things that are on the list and that you are not spending more than the amount you have set for each person or thing.
Start Saving for the Holidays
Setting aside money each month will make budgeting easier. If you have been saving money for the holidays, you will probably have the cash you will need for the holiday spending on hand by the time the holidays roll around. If you have not started saving already for this holiday season, you may not achieve your savings goal for this festive season.
However, while it is a little late to save all the cash you have budgeted for the holidays, you can still save some money saved up if you put away money each week or each month. And if you increase the amount you want to put away each week or each month between now and this December significantly, you may have all of the holiday spending cash saved up by the end of the year.
You can save your tax refund and bonus from work to spend during the holidays. If you use savings to cover holiday purchases, you can save money because you will not have to rely on credit cards and pay interest unless you can repay it in full in the next billing date.
Make Extra Money
You can avoid using your plastic if you can make extra money for the holidays. Ask your employer if you can do extra hours at work. You may still find a part-time job. Another option is finding work online thanks to the internet.
You can do some freelance work like writing, translating, editing, social media marketing, virtual assisting, remote customer and tech support, web design, graphic design and more, depending on your skills to make extra money. You can make some extra money if you can sell your unwanted stuff.
Check out some of my money-making ideas from these posts:
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Stick to cash when it comes to paying for gifts and other holiday purchases. When you use your credit and debit cards for holiday shopping, it is easy to overspend because you can spend money you do not have. If you cannot repay the credit card bills in full in the following month, you will pay interest on outstanding balances.
Instead, carry cash amount to pay for all your holiday purchases and stick to the amount you have budgeted for each person and item when you go shopping. If you have your holiday budget amount in cash and you stick to the budget, you can only spend what you have.
If you start shopping preparation early, you will have a lot of time to check where you can find the best deals on items on the list. So, start early to purchase your products at the cheapest price, avoiding paying more for the same items if you wait till the last minute.
Besides, by shopping early you can spread out your spending over 2 or 3 months and will not feel the added pressure to buy everything at one go during the busy shopping season. While you can shop sales throughout the year, holiday sales weekends like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a great time to score deals on products that are on your shopping list to save money.
Online retailers usually offer products at much lower prices than what you would find in-store, so you can save a lot of money when shop online for holiday gifts. Websites such as eBay, Amazon and many more offer a wide range of products at great prices. Plus, many online retailers offer sales deals and discounts to help you save more money.
You can save even more by shopping online for the products on the list if you find online coupons and vouchers for them. I shop on Amazon, because my Prime membership not gives me free 2-day delivery, but also allows me access to exclusive deals to save money on my favorite items. If you don’t have a membership yet, get 30-days free to Amazon Prime here.
Stop Unnecessary Spending
Do not buy things that are not on your holiday shopping list. Avoid spending cash on things you do not need. If you stick to the list, you should be able to avoid impulse purchases. Once you have gone through the list, stop.
Track Your Spending
You should really track your holiday expenses if you want to save money because by tracking your expenses you can make sure you are not busting your holiday budget. Allocate a spending limit for each person and item and keep track of your spending while you shop to make sure you do not go over your budget.
Look for Coupons and Sales Deals
Look for coupons and sales deals for every item you want to buy offline or online. So, search for coupons both for products on your shopping list and for retailers where you might buy them to make the most use of coupons and save some cash. Coupons on top of deals make it easy to save money during the holidays.
You can earn cash back if you shop through Ebates. You’ll receive your savings in the form of their Fat Check quarterly. If you don’t have an account, sign up for Ebates here.
Make Your Own Gifts
If you are handy at something, making your own gifts can save you money, especially if you cannot afford to buy gifts without busting your budget. Get creative and use your talents to make your own hand-crafted gifts such as scarves, knit sweater, and Christmas cookies, depending on your talents.
Homemade gifts are often more meaningful than more expensive ones you can buy. And the recipients would appreciate them if they are made with love. You may find that you can make money on Etsy by selling some of your creations.
Compare prices for the same item from different retailers by using a comparison website such as PriceGrabber or using a price comparison app like ShopSavvy. These apps will help you to save money during the holidays before you shop.
If you start your holiday shopping early, you have time to compare prices of products on the list from different retailers by using comparison websites or using price comparison apps so you can get the cheapest prices for the products to save money.
The holidays are an expensive time but you can save money if you try some of these above money-saving tips. If you are short on cash, you do not need to go into debt during the holidays to buy gifts for people. Remember the reason for the season. How are you saving this holiday season?