6 smart ways to save money on the holidays
Ah, the holidays. Everyone is out decking the halls, drinking eggnog, and spending too much on gifts because they didn't have a game plan beforehand. It's so easy to go overboard when you're getting things for friends and family, and while you may think that being broke is just something that happens during the holidays, that doesn't have to be the case! Here's a gift from me to you: My 6 best ways to save money on the holidays!
- MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE
It's important to prioritize your shopping duties. If you're going to wade through mall traffic it should be for a good reason! Make a list of the people who you want to give gifts and set a reasonable budget for each one. That way you have a ballpark estimate of how much you'll be spending for all of your gifts, and if the budget crunch hits you can make cuts or adjustments.
- PAY WITH CASH
It is so easy to lose track of your spending when all you do is swipe your card. Trust me, I know. During the holidays that credit card temptation hits even harder. That's why I suggest using cash to purchase all of your gifts. You feel the hit more immediately and when it's gone, it's gone. It'll keep you from spending $20 on something frivolous because it means you'll have to sacrifice something else.
Get "cash back" on money you're already spending by using the Honey chrome extension. It gives you "Honey gold" you can accrue for Amazon gift cards. Perfect for saving up for those necessities!
- TWO WORDS: CHRISTMAS CARDS
Do you have family all over the country? Christmas cards. Do you have family you won't be seeing in person and that you don't know what to get them? Christmas cards. Just want to show off your family? Christmas cards. These are a holiday staple and for good reason. They're cheap, easy, and still personalized enough to show you care.
- MAKE GIFTS IN BATCHES
Want to get your co-workers or friend group gifts but don't want to spend a ton? Making cute mugs or jars full of goodies is the way to go. Go to your value store of choice, find little gifts that fit your group, and decorate! My personal favorites are nail polish, coffee or tea cups, and a gift card for Starbucks. Tie it all together with a cute bow and you've got a recipe for a relaxing morning (plus an excuse to go on a coffee date!) Here's a great "gift in a cup" tutorial that I especially like.
- DIY GIFTS
Pinterest is your friend this holiday season. There are so many unique ideas that you can make your own, plus your friends will know you went the extra mile to make them something special. If you've got something in mind that you'd typically buy, see if you can make it at home! Buying canvases and paint is cheaper than buying wall art pre-made, cups and markers are cheaper than a designer mug, the list goes on and on. So it's time to get crafty.
- WHATEVER YOU DO, AVOID IMPULSE BUYING
Impulse buying is the easiest trap to fall into when shopping for gifts. There are flash sales, coupons, and any number of tricks that retailers will use to make you think that you have to buy something now. Many of these tips are designed to help you forget your budget, but being aware of how and why you overspend in the first place will help you resist temptation.