15 Ways to Save Money This Holiday Season
The holiday season is one of the most expensive times of year for the majority of families and all too often we find that we enter into the New Year with debt hanging over our heads. Luckily, there are lots of ways that you can save money this holiday season by following this simple advice.
Set a Budget
Don’t rush into buying gifts for your nearest and dearest until you’ve planned out how much you can afford to spend on each person. Make a list of recipients and put an amount next to each one. This will help you to focus your gift search and avoid overspending. Remember, it’s about the time and effort you put into choosing a present and not about the monetary value. Don’t be too tight though or you’ll become stressed and frustrated. Be realistic about the amount you need to spend, but don’t go overboard. Don’t forget to factor in all the little expenses too such as activities, parties and travel expenses that you’ll incur through the season.
As soon as the holidays are over, you should look over your budget and see where you could have cut back even more. Start thinking about how you’re going to pay off any debt and you could even make a head start on shopping for next year in the sales.
Whatever you’re planning on buying your loved ones this Christmas, shop for it online whenever possible. Online retailers usually charge you less because they have less overheads, and you’re much more likely to find discount coupons and promotions as well as free shipping. Not only that, but you won’t be tempted to splash out on non-essentials that you see while window shopping.
Research Is Key
Take the time to go online and find the best price for your gifts before you make your purchases – you could save a fortune. Most online retailers have promotional coupons and discount codes for the holiday season. Before buying any gifts, first check for any discounts or coupons online. Retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart run lots of holiday deals and specials!
Avoid Shopping Malls
They’re crowded, frenetic and stressful, yet we flock to malls in droves when the holiday season rolls around. Stay away! Remember, only the most expensive retailers can afford to have their stores in a mall and seeing so much spending going on around you may even push you over the edge and encourage you to blow your budget.
Use Cash Not Your Cards
If you do end up shopping in stores, pay with cash! While paying on plastic may be more convenient, research has shown that those who use their credit or debit card to do their holiday shopping usually spend more than those who are handing over hard cash. If you’re a cash buyer, you may even be in a better negotiating position and may be able to bag yourself a bigger discount.
Ignore Your Impulses
Impulse buys are the scourge of the holiday season. Never pick up an item and buy it on the spot just because it looks or feels great – always take the time to sleep on it and think it over. If you still think it’s a good idea the next morning, then by all means go back to the store and make your purchase.
Shop On eBay
eBay is perfect for tricky to track down holiday gifts. Collectors’ items, clothing and antiques can all be found on this great website and often at bargain prices. Steer away from electronics though as they could be dodgy. They also run holiday specials and there are many discounts and coupons to be had!
Use Your Creativity
Save money on expensive store-bought gifts by using your creative skills to make crafty presents. People love receiving a hand-made present, so go for the sentimental and personal touch – it’s sure to be more appreciated than just another sweater.
Have a Pot Luck
Save money on your New Year celebration by hosting a party at home instead of going out. Save even more when you go for a pot luck approach – give each guest a food category that they should bring with them. You’ll have a blast without getting into debt.
Cut Out Unnecessary Extras
We’re all guilty of splashing out on unnecessary extras throughout the year, but especially so during the holiday season. Cut back on those lattes, avoid getting your picture taken with Santa and don’t buy that extra pair of shoes – remember, the money you’ve just thrown away could pay for extra gifts.
Big families can really benefit from adopted the Secret Santa approach to Christmas instead of buying one gift per person. Pull a name out of a hat and only buy for that one person. You’ll save money while still showing you care and it will be a lot less stressful when it comes to shopping.
We all love our traditions during the holiday season, but sometimes they can get very expensive. Remember, traditions that create special memories don’t need to cost a lot, so choose cheaper ones instead! There are lots of cheap and free activities that will perfectly capture the holiday spirit, from touring neighborhood Christmas lights to going caroling.
Stay on top of what you’re spending so that you don’t go over budget. Keep a spreadsheet of your day to day spending or put your Christmas funds into a separate bank account. Install your bank’s app on your phone and you can check your balance any time.
Don’t Get Carried Away
When you’ve finished buying everything you need, it’s time to stop spending, so don’t go back to the mall! And when the sales come around, don’t get carried away. Remember, it isn’t a bargain unless it’s something you’re going to use, so think hard before you buy.
While it’s very easy to overspend at Christmas time, you can avoid the debt trap by planning your budget in advance and thinking about how you can get the most bang for your buck. There’s no need to spend a fortune to have a good time in the holidays, so focus on loved ones and create a sensible plan for your spending and you’re sure to have a great time.