The average person spends around $900 on gifts for the holiday season, according to American Research Group. That amount doesn't even account for other holiday spending, such as travel costs, food, get togethers, decorations, and more.
Some people even go into credit card debt to spend for the holidays, but is that really worth it?
I'm going to guess not.
Putting your holiday spending on a credit card is a major problem because you will eventually have to pay off that debt.
Plus, interest and other finance charges may be added, meaning that small amount you put on your credit card will grow into a much bigger number. This can then impact your credit score, your credit history, your debt to income ratio, and more.
Going into debt for gifts and holiday events just adds stress, and it takes away from the true meaning of the holiday season.
The holidays can be quite expensive, but they don't have to be if you are mindful of how you spend and save for the holidays.
Below are my tips on how to increase your holiday savings and not go into debt.
Set a budget.
Before you make a list of all the things you want to buy for the holidays, you should set a realistic holiday budget. This will help you analyze your holiday spending so that you can spend less money and not go into any holiday debt.
I recommend seeing how much money you already have set aside for the holidays, analyze how much you think you will spend, and figure out what you need to do so that you don't go over your spending budget.
Items you'll want to think about and possibly include in your holiday budget are:
- Transportation costs
- Food for parties and get togethers
- Holiday cards
- Wrapping supplies
Use cash when shopping.
Similar to a no spend challenge, using only cash when shopping can prevent impulse purchases.
A cash budget works because you only have so much money to work with. If you spend all of your cash, then you won't be able to purchase anything else.
This can help you separate your “wants” from your “needs” when shopping.
When doing your holiday shopping with cash, you will have to carefully plan out each purchase, each time you go to the store, and so on.
Give just one gift.
If you're running low on time or money, you may just want to give one gift to each person. I know some people who are giving numerous gifts around the holidays, and while they may be able to afford it, I'm sure there are some who cannot.
Remember, the holidays are not about the gifts. Instead, focus on what you truly can afford, even if that means you can only give one present. It's the thought that counts, not the gift or the amount of gifts that you give!
Get cash back on your shopping.
Sign up for a website like Ebates where you can earn CASH BACK for spending how you normally would online. The service is free too!
Plus, when you sign up through my link, you will receive an extra $10 cash back!
Find ways to cut back right now.
There are lots of little things you can do that may help you to save money now and well into the future. Even if you can only find $100 extra dollars to spend, that's still $100 more than what you had before.
- Get rid of your cable.
- Find a more affordable cell phone plan.
- Eat out less. Eat out just one or two times less this month and then you'll have more holiday spending money!
- Negotiate your car and home insurance bills.
- Cancel your gym membership.
Read about even more ways to save money at 30+ Ways To Save Money Each Month.
Secret Santa is your friend.
If part of your holiday celebration is gift giving with all of your family and friends, you may want to think about doing a gift exchange where each person only gives one meaningful gift to just one person. This can save a lot of money, as well as a lot of time. Plus, you'll be able to put more thought into a gift as you'll just be giving one.
This is something that we do with my husband’s family. The younger children still get gifts from everyone, but all of the adults just do an exchange. It makes it much easier and more enjoyable!
Find ways to make additional holiday spending cash.
If you can't find ways to cut back, then you may want to find ways to make more money. This can make the holiday season a little more enjoyable as you won't have to go into debt or use your savings in order to purchase holiday gifts.
Plus, there are tons of things you could do to make extra money. If you're looking for a part-time job, there are plenty of places that are looking for holiday help, such as UPS, Kohls, Macy's, Christmas tree lots, restaurants, and more.
There are many other ways to make extra money as well:
- 75+ Ways To Make Extra Money – Yes, there are over 75 ways to make extra money listed in this blog post!
- Rent an extra room in your home. If you have extra space in your home, then you may want to rent it out. Read A Complete Guide To Renting A Room For Extra Money.
- Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is something I don’t use as much, but I do occasionally earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “points called SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough points, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up today!
- Answer surveys. Survey companies I recommend include InboxDollars, Survey Junkie, VIP Voice, American Consumer Opinion, Pinecone Research, Opinion Outpost, Survey Spot, Prize Rebel, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can, as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.
- Test websites. One company I recommend for virtual assistant work is UserTesting. This website pays you to test websites and they pay fairly well.
- 10 Things I’ve Done To Make Extra Money – If you are interested in finding a side hustle idea for yourself, you may be interested in one of the things I’ve done in the past to earn side income.
- Ways To Make An Extra $1,000 A Month – Here are different ways to make an extra $1,000 a month.
- 10 Ways To Make Money Online From The Comfort of Your Home – If you prefer to work from home like I do, then this is the side hustle post for you.
Shop for the holidays as soon as you can.
Starting your holiday shopping now is better than waiting until the last day- or even the day of!
There are many savvy shoppers who start up to a full year before the holiday they are celebrating.
You may call them crazy, but I’m sure it saves them a lot of stress and money.
The earlier you start shopping, the more money you are likely to save. This is because you won’t be in a rush to find what you are hoping to buy, and you will be able to shop the sales as they come. When someone is low on time, they are more likely to buy items they may not need at a price that is higher than usual.
Related tip: I highly recommend signing up for a FREE 30 day Amazon Prime account, as this can really help you save money when it comes to holiday shopping. This free 30 day account gives you unlimited FREE two-day shipping, you can borrow Kindle books, watch movies and TV episodes, and more.
Start saving early.
While this tip won't necessarily work for this holiday season, you can start saving and preparing for 2017.
By saving a little bit of money each day, each week, or even each month right now, you'll make the sting of holiday season spending a little less painful, as you'll already have saved and budgeted for it!
One way is to take part in a holiday savings challenge, such as the $20 Savings Challenge.
The $20 Savings Challenge is a great way to easily save $1,040 this year without noticing! All you have to do is save $20 each week for a year, and then you’ll easily have $1,040.
Lastly, remember the true meaning of the holidays.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, remember the real reason for celebrating.
You don't need to spend a lot of money to be happy, instead think about spending more quality time with your loved ones.
How much money will you spend this holiday season? How do you plan on increasing your holiday savings?
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