Six tips to help you save money over the holidays

From decor and food to transportation and gifts, there are a lot of things to spend money on this during the holiday season. And as a result, this is often when people get themselves into debt.

Though the intention is good (to make others smile), spending too much money can lead to financial stress that lasts right through the new year.

The reality is, however, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can bring in the holiday season with good cheer with your bank account intact. Just use these six savings tips and tricks.

1) Create a budget

Most people end up falling into debt around the holidays because they haven’t set a clear spending limit. They have no idea how much they can afford and so they haphazardly spend money and later suffer the consequences.

So before you start shopping for the holidays, sit down and determine what you can afford. Start by evaluating your personal budget and seeing what funds you have leftover that can be used for holiday shopping.

If you’ve been saving money throughout the year, incorporate this as well. Then, you know exactly what you have to work with. You can use digital resources like Charlie Money App to track your spending and stay on budget. 

2) Use lists

It is easy to get distracted while shopping at this time of year. There are so many different products to purchase and so many deals you feel the need to take advantage of.

To avoid spending more than you should while you’re out and about, it is recommended that you use lists. Keeping a list whether you’re in the grocery store shopping for the holiday dinner or at the toy store getting items for the kids will ensure that you don’t buy things you have no need for (that dig into your budget unnecessarily). 

3) Pay with cash

Don’t mess yourself up in the new year by charging everything to your credit cards for the holidays. By the time you pay it off, you’ve spent unnecessary money on interest for items that were supposed to be a deal.

The best solution is to pay with cash. It reduces the likelihood of you using your credit card and can also prevent you from spending money on things you really can’t afford. 

4) Find affordable gifts

It’s nice to want to put a smile on the faces of those you love, but if it’s going to cause you a headache later on (i.e. financial stress), then was it really worth it?

To be quite honest, there are a lot of great gift ideas to choose from that don’t cost a lot. Many gift sets and baskets come in products ranging from makeup and nail polish to essential oils and aromatherapy candles you can find an affordable gift set for everyone on your holiday list without spending tons of money. 

5) Give gifts from the heart

Not all presents have to be purchased in the store or cost you an arm and a leg. There are some gifts that you can make from the heart that will have more value than anything you could ever buy.

Think of things you can make by hand like crochet scarfs or hats, decorative mugs and t-shirts, homemade cookies, or nice picture frames with a family holiday photo inside.

You can also give the gift of time. Perhaps you can choose a day during the holiday season to spend with your parents or you and your significant other can plan a romantic night in after the hustle and bustle is over. Simply having you around is enough to make them feel good. 

6) Host a potluck holiday dinner

Hosting a Christmas or New Years’ dinner for friends and family can get pricey. Between the decorations, food, drinks, and gifts, your bank account is stretched pretty thin.

Instead of overextending yourself financially, ask your family members and friends to bring a dish with them. If everyone creates their favorite recipes and brings enough to serve all the guests, you can have a potluck feast that tastes great and saves you time and money. 

Don’t get into debt over the holidays

Every year people spend hundreds and thousands of dollars that they don’t have for the holidays. While this extensive spending is often their way of trying to make others smile, it does nothing for their financial well-being.

These six tips can help you to reduce your holiday expenses while still making those closest to you happy. 

Photo by Ekaterina Shevchenko