While the holidays certainly bring thoughts of love and joy to the mind, they can still be incredibly stressful. If you want to be generous with your giving but mindful of your spending, you need to start saving up now. Finding ways to save money each month gives you more money to pay off debt, save for a vacation, prepare for retirement, save for a new house and get all those wonderful gifts you are wanting to give everyone. Here are some creative ways to keep your spending under control this holiday season.
1. Make a Budget
There are a couple different ways to set a holiday budget. First you’d want to determine what your overall spending cap will be. Once you know how much you can spend total, allocate a specific amount to each person on your gift list.
2. Track your spending
Your budget does no good if you don’t effectively track what you are spending. A good idea is opening up a Christmas fund bank account, where throughout the year you throw in $10 every week, you’d have about $450 to spend with this method and then with these saving tips you will be able to throw more into the fund. This will make it easier for you to separate holiday spending from regular, day-to-day expenses. Also download your bank’s app on your phone, which will allow you to check your balance and track your spending anytime and anywhere.
3. Cut Back on Extras
- Turn your AC down
- Make your own pumpkin spice lattes
- Choose free weekend activities
- Do your dry cleaning at home
- Cook at home instead of eating out
- Pack work and kids lunches
- Avoid impulse buys at the cash register
- Buy a programmable thermostat to save on energy bills.
4. Choose Cheaper Traditions
While traditions are important and admirable, they don’t have to be expensive to be memorable. In fact, you might find that your kids prefer the cheap stuff to the grander gestures. So many activities and traditions are inexpensive, or even free – you just have to know where to look. By making cheaper events and traditions part of your celebration, you can save money without skimping on the festivities and memories.
Here are some cheap holiday activities:
- Touring neighborhood Christmas lights
- Watching a movie with hot chocolate at home
- Seeing Santa at the mall
- Making Gingerbread house
- Make paper snowflakes
5. Cut Monthly Bills
Monthly expenses can bite us if we aren’t careful. Cable is no exception! With the average cable bill being about $99.10, according to Liechtman Research Group, cable and other monthly expenses can really add up over time. See what you can do without , these next few months to have extra to spend on your love ones.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the spending cycle during the holidays. Marketing campaigns are geared toward making you open your wallet in the spirit of Christmas, so it’s hard not to fall prey. However, if you’ve got a plan in place and know how to stretch each holiday dollar, you don’t have to fear your bank account statement on December 26th. Cheaper entertainment, a focus on family, and a sensible spending plan put you firmly in the driver’s seat of your own sleigh.