The holiday season carries different meanings for everyone. But, the one common denominator is how unreasonably expensive the season can be. So we decided to provide the top 20 money tips you can follow this holiday season to ensure you don’t break the bank.
Purchase within your means. Though it is the season of giving, that does not mean you must travel outside of your financial means. Setting limitations on what you will spend is important for monitoring your finances. Outside of the holidays, spending outside of our means gets us into trouble. Just because it’s the holiday season we shouldn’t go overboard. It only takes a short period of time for a large amount of damage to be done.
Get creative with your gifts. Big shiny presents are great, but it’s impossible to gauge the value of gifts that come from the heart. With loved ones and friends, try creating gifts with sentimental value. It might be less in price, but it’s full of what money can’t buy.
Talking about your budget isn’t a bad thing. There is no shame in budgeting. Actually, you should be proud that you’re taking responsibility of your finances. The holidays normally require money to be spent traveling, gifts, food and more. Talk with your close friends and family about your budgeting goals. You can work together on how you can handle gift giving and get-togethers. This will help ensure everyone isn’t overspending.
Make your decorations. Decorations are expensive. Beautiful. But expensive. Forget about costly decorations and start making your own. It can be a great new family tradition. Instead of the big brands, check out antique stores and sales. Midwestliving.com offers some creative DIY ornament ideas.
If it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Companies have mastered the cloaking technique. Big signs, bright colors and exclamatory punctuation imply that consumers are getting a great deal. This is not always the case. Don’t jump in without testing the waters. Do some number crunching and see if you are actually getting a great deal.
They will take advantage of you, but only if you let them. Stores try capitalizing on the increased traffic and sales accompanying the holiday season. Offers to signup for store credit cards, mailing lists, and discount programs will be compelled upon customers. Sure, the store employees are just doing their job. In fact, they most likely don’t even know what you are signing up for. An extra 20% in savings might seem great while having a cart full of presents. But, when the interest charges hit once the tree comes down it won’t be worth it. Get all the information before signing up.
Buy in bulk. Whether you are shopping online or in-store, do so where you can buy in bulk. It is a great way to take advantage of offers provided by that store or website. Many websites offer free shipping if you purchase a certain amount. Stores will offer the a certain discount for the same scenario. You are going to purchase these items anyway, so make sure to get the best deal possible. Plus, the more stores you can avoid the better. It can be a war zone out there.
Manage your money every day. Now is not the time to avoid monitoring your finances. Our money and account balances can quickly elude us if we are not careful. Continually monitor all of your accounts. This will help you stay on top of your spending and manage your budget. You can also take steps to protect yourself from credit card fraud if you suspect anything strange.
Battle plan. If you don’t have a plan, there is a big chance your finances and time will suffer. Planning is crucial this time of year. Get your gift list in order. Plan ahead for all get-togethers. Get your travel arrangements in check. A plan will be important for getting through the holidays unscathed. Some people plan to make more money throughout the year by selling things they no longer use online or even by gambling on sports, for example rugby world cup betting or various football games. This could result in more cash for the holidays.
Keep your goals in mind. Stay focused on your financial goals. It can be easy to get carried away with spending. Always keep your goals in mind and keep yourself accountable with your budget. There are some simple ways you can stay on track. The holiday season will end. You want to make sure your finances haven’t been derailed.
It’s ok to say no. It can be difficult to say no right now. You’re probably being asked to participate in many events such as gift swapping parties in the office. You never want to be “that person”, but sometimes it’s just not plausible for you to contribute. It’s ok to take your name out of the hat and pass this year.
Consider buying gifts that benefit both of you. In a relationship, it can be very helpful to purchase gifts that will benefit both of you and your finances. Instead of buying each other big gifts, make paying off a credit card be the gift. Make a major contribution to the down payment you’ve been saving up for to purchase your first home. Items are great, but long-term improvements to your finances is the gift that keeps on giving.
Heat your home properly. It’s no secret that the holidays bring cold weather. This is where your finances can take a large hit if you’re not careful. Whether you are using a heating system or wood burning stove, make sure you take the proper precautions to keep your home warm while not wasting energy. You can also do basic maintenance checks on things like your boiler, windows, and roof to make sure no energy is being wasted. If you see any issues with your roof get WDR Roof Repair to prevent any heat escaping. Your electricity bills will most likely be higher. But you can take the steps to make sure they don’t get out of control. To lower your home’s heating and cooling costs, you could look to your windows for a solution like replacing them with Marvin fiberglass windows which keeps warm and cool air in your home, saving money over the long haul.
Ask for help. Holiday parties with friends and family are awesome. They can also be expensive. Ask for help if you’re hosting a party. Have attendees contribute with food and beverages so you’re not carrying a heavy load. @SavingThousands recently participated in a Twitter chat with Experian.com where you can find great information on how to host a holiday party.
Keep your priorities straight. It can be easy to lose sight of your priorities during the holiday season. Why not? We are filled with joy and the desire to give. Because of this we can sometimes put our financial responsibilities out of sight. Make sure to keep your priorities in focus to not fall behind. Missed payments and others can lead to fees and, even worse, debt collectors.
Start planning for next year. The best way to save for the holidays, start preparing for next year right now. The price of decorations and other holiday items will be at an all-time low once this year’s festivities are over. It never hurts to begin putting a little aside for gifts for next year starting now. That way you can avoid heavily increasing the balances on your credit cards.
You can be frugal in enjoying the holidays. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the holiday seasons. There are plenty you and the family can do to take in all the holidays have to offer. All while keeping money in the bank. Start a family tradition such as driving around and looking at lights, volunteering for charities, participating in community events and much more. The memories are priceless.
Refurbished and used items are good too. Some of the best gifts aren’t brand new. If you are planning on spending a large amount of dough for an item, research to see if you can find it used. Make sure it is in good condition of course. Video games and consoles, books, computers, tablets and more can be found at discounted rates when they’ve been used.
Get rewarded. You are going to shop. That’s inevitable. So why not get rewarded? If your credit card offer rewards when you shop, use it to make the purchase and pay it back immediately. There are several apps that reward you when shopping. For a complete list of ways to save money and get rewarded while shopping, check out this article:
Great time for a side-hustle. Need a little extra cash? Certain stores and companies are always hiring during the holiday season to help with the rush. The hours are flexible and you receive that extra income quickly. It’s the perfect time to have a short-term side-hustle that won’t consume you. Tree farms, holiday stores and department stores are always looking for help.
Prepare your home. Make sure you’re preparing your home for the season. Cold weather can mean high energy bills if you aren’t careful. Take the time to assess your home and possible have it inspected. From the roof to the windows, small problems can cost you big time.
Here are some great resources for getting your home prepared for winter: