Friday, December 21, 2018

Money Saving Tips for the Holidays





The holiday season is an exciting time, although it’s not always friendly to wallets. As one of the most expensive times of the year, it can be hard to lose yourself in the fun and joy of winter merriment. 

However, you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the holidays this December. With some effort and a few cost-cutting tricks, you can usually walk away from December with your wallet in-tact and everyone feeling festive and cheerful. Check out these ideas for some holiday money saving techniques.

Start a Budget

As with any cost-saving effort, your most important step is going to be budgeting. Before you can figure out how you can save money, you need to establish how much money you’re willing and able to spend. Divide up all of your holiday expenses; usually a list of gift recipients and then a list of other expenses, like decorations or travel. Think of yourself as a stingy Santa Claus: Make the list, and check it twice for anything that seems a little unnecessary.
Pro Tip: Use a pen and paper budget sheet

Decide on Gifts

For gifting, decide on a limit for how much you’ll spend on each gift, or if you can get away with a custom, homemade present. It doesn’t have to be the same per person, but this will establish a baseline for the rest of your holiday expenses. Watch the stores that carry your desired gifts like a hawk throughout the year, and take advantage of sales. Black Friday may be a good time to go, though you’ll be competing with the stampedes to get those specials.

Beware Shipping Costs

If you’re sending any of these gifts, make sure you include the price of shipping in your budget. Keep in mind your shipping options are going to vary. Your cheapest will be through the post office, although the reliability of a delivery before Christmas is going to vary. Other services, like FedEx or UPS, will have more solid delivery dates, though the service will be pricier.
Pro Tip: Use online shopping gift services
A lot of online shopping allows buyers to ship directly to the gift recipient and have a “gift” option that allows the box to remain a mystery until it's unwrapped. This saves you on shipping immensely.

Pick the Smartest Travel Option

If you’re traveling for the holidays, consider how you’re getting there. Flights can be expensive, and extensive stays will need extra luggage that will have to be checked. You’re looking at a hefty price, even for flights staying on the same coast. If it’s at all possible, consider driving to your destination. You’ll lose some time and have to spend money on gas, but usually it can be more cost-effective than flying if your destination is relatively close, particularly if you need extra cargo space for passengers and presents.
Pro Tip: Be sure to bring plenty of entertainment for the kids

Save Decorations

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, break out the previous years’ decorations. There’s no need to open your wallet for new strings of lights or wreaths if you’ve got previous years in the attic or garage. If you don’t have any stockpiled decorations, don’t feel the need to buy more. Take it slow and buy a few this year, and then a few more next year, and let them slowly accumulate. Decorating doesn’t have to be a sprint, and with each new year you’ll have another set of trim or lights that you can associate with a previous year.

The holidays shouldn’t be about how much you spend. They should be about spending time with family, doing good things for others, and having some stress-free vacation days. Luckily, these saving tips for the holidays will be a great step in the right direction.

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