Money saving tips are key to successfully navigating the holiday shopping season. If you overspent during the holiday season last year or in years prior, you’ll want to take a moment to remember how you felt when you realized you spent money beyond your means.
How long did it take you to recover from the consequences associated with overspending? Are you still coping with the effects of spending too much money on gifts and holiday experiences? Once you recall the stress associated with overspending, you’ll be more likely to want to prevent it from happening again in the future.
The holidays may seem like they’re still far away, but now’s a great time to take steps to prevent overspending, so you can start the new year calmly and without debt. Overspending year after year will result in not only mounting debt but poor credit. If this is you, seeking credit repair services may be the answer. What you don’t want to do is sit back and continue down the same path of poor financial decisions. In this article, we share some practical tips to keep your finances in check during the holidays.
Create a Reasonable Budget for Gifts
Be honest with yourself: how much can you afford to spend on gifts without overstretching your budget? If the answer is “not very much”, then you should be honest with yourself about that. In fact, you may even want to tell your loved ones that you have to stick to a strict gift budget this year – and then set a firm dollar amount. If you feel self-conscious about your financial limitations, you can ask your loved ones to also follow your budget when it comes to gifts.
Be Strategic About Gift Shopping
Don’t wait until the last minute to buy gifts for your loved ones. Instead, plan your gift giving ahead of time and shop around for deals. You may even want to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials to ensure you’re getting the best value. At the same time, remember that these shopping “holidays” are not invitations to spend more money, even if the deals are tantalizing.
You Don’t Have To Spend Lots Of Money
The holidays have shifted greatly towards gift giving, special activities and attractions as well as travel. This can make the holidays one large financial burden. People find themselves busting their budget in the name of family.
The best way to approach the holidays is to take a step back into traditions. The great thing here is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun and memorable traditions. In fact, you may just find that you and your kids actually enjoy these smaller more intentional gestures than material gifts. Nowadays, there are so many inexpensive or even free events happening during the holidays. Check out your local newspaper or local events pages for ideas.
Here are just a few cheap and fun activities:
- Make a list of houses with great Christmas lights and do a tour
- Pick a fun holiday movie and make popcorn and hot chocolate
- Snow activities like sledding
- Check out Santa at the mall
- Make Christmas crafts
- Pick out kid friendly baking recipes to make
- Read your favorite Christmas stories together
- Check out discount sites like Groupon or LivingSocial, for savings on local attractions
Focusing on traditions will help teach your kids that the holidays are not about what you spend, but the time you spend together.
Limit The “treats” For Yourself
With our designer coffee obsessed culture, we all know by now how much money we spend on all those Starbucks runs. You should also know by now how much money you could save by brewing your own cup of joe at home. If you want to build up a nice little stash of savings for the holidays, cutting out your “latte habit” will do it.
Now, if you are really coffee obsessed and are buying your coffee out a lot, you are going to want to wean yourself off. So if you go five days a week to Starbucks, cut it down to 2. Given the cost of one of their coffee drinks, you could save hundreds of dollars in a years time.
Same goes for those lunches out. Yes, it’s fun to head out to lunch with a group of coworkers, but doing that regularly adds up to a nice chunk of change. If you were to brown bag it, you could definitely save well over a grand in a years time. Add that to your coffee savings and you have a pretty nice savings to go into the holiday season with.
Remind Yourself of The True Meaning of The Holiday Season
During the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in all the shiny gifts available in stores. Are you feeling sad about not being able to buy all the most coveted gifts? Remember that the holiday season isn’t even about gift giving. Instead, it’s about spending quality time with your loved ones and sharing your love in whatever way you can. If you’re currently struggling with financial hardship, the people who love you will understand, and they won’t judge you for what you can or cannot buy.
Denise Amara is a Senior Credit Strategist and Editor at Creditmarvel.com, the ultimate authority on credit repair. Denise has over 8 years experience writing comprehensive guides that help consumers better their habits as it relates to personal finance and credit.