As the end of the calendar year approaches, individuals, families, friend groups, and colleagues get ready to celebrate. However, it’s important to keep some tips in mind related to being fiscally responsible. If you’re looking for ideas on how to save money during the holidays, read on.
This article includes several tips and tricks on how to save money during the holidays. Use them to ensure that when January rolls around, you won’t be struggling to pay bills. Unfortunately, that’s a conundrum that affects a lot of people and households, and it can lead to money problems down the road. One missed bill could seriously affect your credit score, so you want to take into account any tips on how to save money during the holidays to heart.
Avoid Impulsive Seasonal Spending Whenever Possible
Leading the list of recommendations on how to save money during the holidays is making a list and not just checking it twice, but also sticking to it. Retailers set up aisles, especially around the registers, to encourage impulsive shopping. You’ve probably left a store with items you never intended to buy but saw while you were waiting in line to check out. That’s impulsive spending at work, and it can hurt your financial plans.
The easiest way to stop yourself from buying things you don’t need on a whim is honestly creating lists. This goes for everything from your grocery trips to excursions to big-box retailers. Remember: temptations are all around you. It’s very easy to think, “Why not buy five boxes of candy? Our neighbors could use them!” But were you really planning to exchange anything with your neighbors? Or were you looking for an excuse to put the beautifully gift-wrapped candy boxes in your shopping cart?
While you’re being frugally minded and pushing back against temptation to buy for others, do the same for things you might buy for yourself. It’s fine to get yourself a small treat every once in a while. Just don’t make overspending an everyday thing or you’ll never get the swing of how to save money during the holidays.
Reduce End-of-Year Surprise Costs With Preventative Care
You’re into December and feeling pretty confident that you know how to save money during the holidays. Then it happens: you’re not getting any hot water. To be honest, you’re not getting warm water, either. You rush to the basement only to realize that you don’t need just some hot water heater maintenance but probably a new water heater. It’s an unexpected bill that you didn’t anticipate. But should you have?
Think back to all the times you avoided getting maintenance on your water heater. You put off the preventive care, and finally had to pay the price. That’s often what happens when you repeatedly “kick the can down the road” in terms of putting off maintenance, repairs, and anything you don’t want to pay immediately.
If you’re truly looking for a good way how to save money during the holidays, think of this year-round suggestion: prevention is always cheaper than intervention. Whether you’re talking about paying for animal vets because you ignored your dog’s itching in September and wound up needing a more expensive treatment in November, or covering mold remediation costs because you discovered mildew in March and waited to take care of it, you’re only putting off the inevitable.
Do yourself a favor and just take care of your pets, your home, and your vehicles. You’ll be much happier and have more money when the holidays roll around.
Create Homemade Gifts
Want to know how to save money during the holidays quickly? Make just about everything that you give. Homemade presents are some of the best, especially if you spend a lot of time on them. A lot of people already have everything they need, so a personalized gift from the heart is frequently welcome.
What types of homemade gifts make people smile? Treats and meals are always appreciated, particularly by people who like having a night off from cooking duty. You could also make crocheted blankets, knitted sweaters, and sewn quilts. Use your imagination and think about what you could make or build for someone special.
Encourage your little kids to do likewise. It’s fun to frame pictures that children make, and relatives will probably love to have something new to put on the walls or on their bookshelves.
Travel Less Than Usual
Even if you don’t typically travel a lot during the holidays, scaling back is a solid tip on how to save money during the holidays. Not only does pulling back on travel allow you to spend less on gas costs, hotel bills, and car wear and tear, but it could stop you from getting into a holiday accident. Unfortunately, crashes and collisions rise at the end of the year because so many people are on the roads. The less you travel, the safer you could be.
What if you really want to see some of your family members or a small group of friends? You could always host a cozy gathering at your place. Have everyone bring a potluck dish or beverages to share so you don’t have to pay for all the shopping. Even if you end up having some of your guests spend a night or two, you’ll still be saving.
Use Cash Instead of Credit Cards
With the exception of online purchases that require you to put in a credit card number, try to use nothing but cash for the last six weeks of the year. You might be surprised to find out that this can be harder than it sounds! Most people are accustomed to using plastic wherever they go, but that can lead to big problems.
What’s wrong with whipping out your credit card? Couldn’t it be a part of your new plan for how to save money during the holidays? Yes, but only if you’re tracking every dime. Most credit card users tend to forget what they’ve bought. Think of it as “out of sight, out of mind.” Then, when they get the credit card bill at the end of the month, they’re shocked by how high it is.
Carrying cash only will force you to think about the cost of every purchase. When you see your cash start to dwindle, you’ll realize that you might be overspending. If you have a lot of people to buy for, try carrying cash in separate envelopes labeled with each person’s name. After you make a purchase, put the receipt in that individual’s envelope. You’ll stay organized and money-smart.
Start on House Repairs Before the Holidays
Do you have a few house repairs that you’ve vowed to finish before New Year’s Eve? Now’s the perfect time to tame those tasks. For instance, you might have garage door repairs. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean garage door repair personnel aren’t working. In fact, they might be willing to give you a discount, especially if they have fewer customers since the weather’s changed.
Why does engaging in house repairs now belong on your how to save money during the holidays checklist? Lots of companies are offering end-of-year sales. Even water damage restoration specialists may be willing to give you a certain percentage off your bill if you pay upfront. It’s worth asking because you could wind up saving a bundle. And that means you have more money to go into the coming year.
Keep Making Homemade Meals
Even though you want to support local coffeehouses, pubs, restaurants, and bars in November and December, try not to go overboard. It’s much less expensive to make meals at home than to order out day after day. Yes, you’re busy, but some meals can be made in 15 minutes or less or can simmer all day in a crockpot.
As a side note, making meals in your own kitchen isn’t just healthier for your wallet. It’s also healthier for you and everyone in your household. Even if you make comfort foods, they’ll tend to contain less fat and sodium than versions you’d buy elsewhere. Most people eat fewer calories when they’re eating something made at home.
Not sure you’re the type of person who could fall in love with cooking? Turn dinnertime into a family affair. Ask family members, including kids, to help prepare the food, set the table, and clean up dishes afterwards. Spending time together is vital to feeling a sense of togetherness. What better time of year than the holidays to engage in lively, fun discussions with the people you love the most over a home-cooked meal?
Budget For Gifts
Are you someone who tends to buy at least one large gift for everyone on your shopping list? Set a budget or you could wind up paying more than you intended. For example, let’s say you and your spouse have wanted to buy a pontoon boat for sale for a couple of years. This year, you decide you’re going to purchase one on your own as a surprise. Yet you keep seeing ones at the very top of your price range. Instead of thinking, “That’s too much,” you might end up overspending merely because you convinced yourself you had to buy the boat.
Having a budget keeps you within parameters and allows you to comfortably and confidently say “no.” It also gives you a way out if a pushy salesperson keeps talking to you about choosing a mattress that’s far out of your financial comfort zone.
Set a Limit on Family and Friend Gift Exchanges
Many families, friend groups, and work groups get involved in gift exchanges. Though gift exchanges can be fun, they can also start to add up. If you have anything to say about the upper price limit of gifts, make your voice heard.
What happens if someone proposes that the gift exchange have a limit of $50 and you’ve had a rough year and are trying to figure out how to save money during the holidays? Talk about it with the organizer. Explain that you might not be able to participate if everyone’s expecting a $50 gift. You may have to bow out this time around if the organizer won’t budge. At least you’ll have made your opinions and needs known.
On the other hand, be conscientious if you’re the one putting together the gift exchange. Not everyone will have extra spending money, so keep that in mind. You might even want to send out a questionnaire beforehand to see what everyone thinks is an appropriate gift cost range.
Search for Deals
There’s nothing wrong with searching for the best deals you can find around the holidays. Whether you want to give your parents residential carpet cleaning because they’ve been talking about getting their carpets spotless for a while, or you want to purchase a bike for your kiddo, you can often find great deals. One way to make sure you’re always getting the best price is by comparing costs on the Internet.
Let’s say you want to get a car lover some Mercedes Benz parts. You’re bound and determined to find ones that are authentic. Go to the web and find Mercedes Benz parts online at a variety of dealers. See which ones seem to have the best reputation for the price. Don’t be fooled by extremely low prices, though. The parts may not be what you want after all.
Put Off Large Purchases If You Can
As a final tip on how to save money during the holidays, consider putting off huge purchases that can wait. For instance, if you’re a homeowner, you might be chomping at the bit to get some home renovations done. But the average cost of a renovation exceeds $10,000. That’s a lot of money to spend, particularly if you have other purchases to make. Therefore, if you can wait on hiring a roofing service or securing a flooring contractor, you might want to take that step.
Now that you know how to save money during the holidays, you have all the information you need to get through the season without landing in hot financial water when the calendar flips to January.