The holidays can be an expensive time. Between the financial strain of picking out the perfect gift and the costs of traveling to be with friends and family members during some of the most high-volume weeks of the year, it’s easy to emerge from the holiday season with a very skinny pocketbook and a host of new financial worries because you didn’t save money.
Fortunately, there are several smart ways to get through the holidays without going broke. Here’s what you need to know.
Fortunately, there are several smart ways to get through the holidays without going broke.
Here’s what you need to know:
TIP: Shop Sales Whenever Possible
Retailers know that consumers are cost-conscious around the holidays, which is why so many of them offer massive blowout sales in the days leading up to Christmas and Thanksgiving. To save money and reduce the stress of the holidays, shop these purchases whenever possible. Look for ads in your local newspaper, catalogs, and online sites that announce sales, and shop sites like Amazon during significant sale times. While this is a simple tip, it’s also a great way to get the gifts you need at prices you can afford, and to avoid the stress of the holiday crowds.
TIP: Set a Budget
Last year, 40% of Americans reported overspending on the holidays. In large part, this was because lots of these families didn’t set a budget before they went out in search of deals. This is a perfect way to set yourself up for stress and anxiety. It’s also entirely avoidable. Before you head out shopping this year, establish a strict budget and commit to sticking to it. This year, develop a budget for your holiday spending and track it as you move through your shopping. Track each purchase you make and subtract it from your overall budget. Adjust as you go to make sure you stay within your spending parameters and don’t wake up to an ugly financial surprise once the holidays are over.
TIP: Pay With Cash
One of the most dangerous things you can do over the holidays is shop on a credit card. Because a credit card doesn’t feel like “Real” money, people tend to buy more and make larger purchases on credit cards than they would otherwise. To avoid this, pay for your gifts and travel expenses in cash. You can either pull out physical money and use this to shop in the stores, or pay with a debit card, which works the same way as cash. Doing this keeps your spending in check and ensures you’re not spending money you don’t have.
TIP: Set Gift Limits
We love our friends and family members, and we want to get them the best gifts possible. Unfortunately, this often leads to overspending in an attempt to impress other people. Avoid this by setting a gift spending limit within your friend groups and family. For example, you might all agree that nobody will spend more than $30 on a gift, or that you’ll do a secret Santa swap this year, instead of direct gift-giving. Don’t be afraid to get creative with this! Gift-giving should feel fun and generous, not mandatory and stressful.
TIP: Book Flights Early
One of the most significant costs associated with the holidays is travel. If you’re flying out to see friends or family members, take pains to lower your associated expenses by booking your flights early, and doing everything possible to avoid changing your travel plans. Wondering why this matters? Airfare increases an average of $1 per day from the beginning of November and jumps about $10 per day the closer you get to Thanksgiving. With this in mind, set your travel plans early and stick to them. The same thing goes for any cars, hotels, or similar accommodations you book.
TIP: Don’t Duplicate
If you’re throwing a holiday party, do an inventory of what you have before you set out to buy decorations or accessories. These things tend to get tucked away in closets and fall away from our memories, and it’s easy to duplicate them when the time comes. By avoiding this, though, you can save a bunch of money, and reduce your waste output at the same time. Once you’ve done an inventory of the items you have, spend some time thinking about what you can recycle, improvise, or borrow rather than buying. For example, butcher paper can serve as a table runner, and birch boughs harvested from outside and spray painted gold or silver make for a festive (and free) decorative touch.
TIP: Make Your Own Gifts
Instead of breaking the bank on expensive holiday gifts, consider making your own. Things like soap, jewelry, and even hard perfumes are simple to make, and you don’t require a bunch of special materials. Check out the web for easy recipes or visit a local craft store for a few smart ideas that can result in unique and thoughtful gifts that won’t leave you reeling come 2018.
Save Money and Have a Cost-Conscious Holiday Season
You don’t have to go broke to enjoy the holidays this year. Instead, look for ways to improve your shopping and create some fun, unique gifts for your friends without spending all your money. By shopping sales, making your own gifts, booking travel early, and ensuring you’re not doubling down on decorations or accessories, you can save hundreds of dollars this holiday season, and enjoy a more affordable series of celebrations. While most people expect the holidays to be expensive, they don’t have to make you go broke in the new year. In fact, there are several smart, simple things you can do to cut down on your expenses and enjoy a more affordable season. Chances are, nobody will even notice you were saving money, and you’ll emerge happy, healthy, on-budget, and ready for the upcoming year.
To learn more about saving money on your big move this holiday season, contact Colonial Van Lines. Your go-to team for long-distance moving, we’re here to help you get the services you need at a price you can afford.