7 Financial tips for Holiday Savings
Money may not be the be-all and the end-all of life but it sure is indispensable, especially when it comes to the holiday season. The presence or absence of money itself can make a remarkable difference to how enjoyable your holidays turn out to be, but the brighter side of the story is that you really do not need a ton of money to be happy and make your loved ones happy. In fact, there are plenty of ways to enjoy and still save up this holiday season. Keep reading our top seven strategies for saving money amid all the festive revelry.
Make a budget
Before going holiday shopping, your first step should be to set aside a budget. You can determine this budget by reviewing your earnings and expenses. Don’t use up all your monthly savings on holiday gifts; rather use 50% on them and keep aside the rest for food and emergency. Also, consider making a list of items and assign a specific amount for each. This will keep you from giving into temptation and prevent you from spending too much.
Save Up on Wrapping Paper
With the advent of technology, newspapers are gradually becoming more of a past thing. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their uses. When it comes to holiday arrangements, they are especially useful; you can use those colorful pages of the newspaper to wrap your presents. They will be cheaper than fancy, store-bought wrapping paper and lend a minimalistic charm to your Christmas gifts.
Watch out for Coupons
Coupons are practically synonymous with the holiday season. With December knocking on the door, your inbox must be pouring with coupons of all kinds! Ensure not to ignore the coupons in your newspaper as they are equally valuable. In fact, newspaper coupons come handy for all the things that any Christmas would be incomplete without, such as groceries, hardware tools, etc. Depending on where you live, your local grocery store may have lots of ads for discounted stuff, so keep your scissors handy and watch out! Additionally, it’s advisable to see the fine print carefully because some coupons may be combined for extra savings but others cannot be combined similarly.
Can’t Afford? Don’t Buy
A 2016 report showed that 25% of people exhausted their emergency savings or took a payday loan or dipped into their retirement plan in order to cover holiday-related expenses. If you find it impossible to buy something without taking a loan or withdrawing money from a virgin account, the best way out is to NOT buy it. Trust me, it won’t make any difference to your life. In fact, going into debt or exhausting your savings unnecessarily will ultimately prove to be more detrimental to you and your family than skipping a particular item on your wishlist.
Get Creative with Gifts
Giving store-bought gifts is something that anybody can do. What really makes an impact is a gift that is thoughtful; a gift that has been made from scratch using time and energy. Giving away a vase or a gadget may seem like a total waste of money for people who have everything in life. Why not give them the gift of your time? Or, the gift of a unique experience, such as a hair spa, or a deep-tissue massage, or even cooking lessons. You can even offer to babysit for them, or wax their car, or even take care of their pets while they are away holidaying. Just write your offer with fancy pens and tuck it in a nice holiday card. No one will bother that you didn’t use wrapping paper.
Ask your siblings or cousins to contribute a small amount towards a group gift for a related loved one. If an iPad is beyond your reach, consider dividing it among your cousins or even friends to make it reasonable. There are many websites that make it easy for you to do this. And since the entire process is digital, you don’t have to go running about collecting money from everyone.
Host a Potluck Party
Take off the pressure of arranging food all by yourself with a holiday potluck party. Ask all your guests to chip in with their choice of dishes and decide a master menu beforehand. You can even take charge of making the turkey or the main course all by yourself and ask your guests to bring in desserts, drinks and side-dishes. That will help you cut down on the costs of hosting a full-fledged holiday spread. So you’ll be saving money and having fun all at the same time!
Remember, it is easy to be carried away by the mood of the season, but it’s important to understand that holidays aren’t just about temptations, food cravings, and spending money. Focusing on humanitarian activities, religious tasks, saving money and spending time with your near and dear ones are equally essential. With a wee bit of creativity and planning, it is quite possible to get through the holiday season without getting into debts or exhausting your savings.