5 Ways to Save Money During the Holiday Season
The last few months of the year can be very draining on you physically and definitely financially. Between all of the holiday parties for work and for friends, potlucks, secret santa swaps, and I’m sure for many the weekends for the next two months are totally booked. So not only do you have an extensive social life, you may find it in your heart to give during this season and that can take a toll on you financially. So here are a 5 ways to save some money, and a little sanity, during the holiday season.
List Your Priorities– This list should consist of who you are purchasing gifts for, parties and events you are attending, and charities you are donating to. Be careful who you add to your list. Some people that were on my list a few years ago aren’t on my list anymore simply because it’s not in my budget. Don’t feel guilty if someone that’s not on your list buys you a gift. You do not give to receive; you give out of the kindness of your heart. Click here to download a worksheet to help you organize your list.
Create a Budget– Remember a budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. Decide how much money you want to spend for the holiday season and STICK to it. This budget should include how much money you are donating, how much money you are spending on gifts, clothing and accessories you may need to purchase if you are attending events (More on this later), money you will spend on groceries if you are cooking or baking this season. This budget should work in conjunction with your normal monthly budget.
Sign Up for Deals and Coupons– In September I signed up for Macy’s “Thanks For Sharing” points. It cost me $25. I love this program because they donate the money to various organizations like Go Red for Women, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Breast Cancer Research, The Respect Campaign, and many other organizations (Read more here). You also get 10% back of your spending in February. So whatever you spend at Macy’s using your Macy’s card between September 2nd – December 21st, you will see 10% of that when you get your Thanks For Sharing gift card. So how great is that? You can get money back, donate to charities, and buy gifts for your loved ones. Also SIGN UP FOR COUPONS. I know it could be a little annoying cutting out papers and all but it is worth it. I’m old school and new school. I have apps for grocery stores that will add coupons to your store card straight from your phone. If I know I’m going shopping I do a quick google search for store coupons (The Gap and Gap Factory always has a coupon with up to 40% off). The key is being strategic. I try not to have too many impromptu shopping trips because I may have a coupon at home and will miss out on saving 20% off of my purchases. Keep an envelope of coupons in your purse when you shop to help with this.
Shop Early and Shop Sales– I don’t mean early as in July, although that works for some people. For most stores they have holiday hours where they open earlier and close later. They also have “door busters” and “early bird specials.” So if you can save money on gifts by getting to a store by 8am, I think that is worth it. Use your phone’s calendar to plug in sales and other deals. This will ensure you don’t miss a good deal. Plug in when the sale starts and ends. (Thanks Christina for this tip).
Shop Your Closet– Between holiday parties, possibly birthday parties, and your normal social life, you are going to need something to wear. Instead of buying an entirely new outfit, shop your closet. See what you have first before you go out to the stores. Your LBDs (little black dresses) will come in handy this season. If you do need to add something to spice up your wardrobe, do it with accessories. Think of statement necklaces and bold jewelry. It doesn’t make sense to continuously buy new dresses that you can only wear once or even once a year. We have to be smarter about how we spend our money.
*Bonus* Be mindful about Black Friday. I know we are bombarded with all of these deals, but make a list first before you purchase anything. It is easy to get caught up in the hype, (I know I’ve been there too many times), but we have to be smart about where our money goes.
The holiday season should not be stressful. If you plan appropriately that stress can be minimized.
What are some ways that you save money during the holiday season?