Are you looking to save money for the holiday season and get the most out your budget? If so, this post is for you! As you may know, the holiday season is here and similar to me, most people tend to spend a ton of money shopping for gifts. If you are looking for ways to save during this holiday season this post by guest author Andy from Penny Less Dad will share 15 clever ways to stick to your holiday budget and save money for this Christmas season.
Let’s jump right in!
Probably the toughest game to play is paying off debts and targeting a savings goal at the same time! But with a little effort and organized planning, you can actually succeed at both pretty smoothly. In this post, I will be covering how to pay off debt and save for Christmas.
15 Clever Ways To Save Money For Christmas
1. Calculate Your Time
My suggestion would be to get a rough idea of how much time you have left until Christmas so that you can aim a target!
- Develop a target to clear quite a number of your debts, if not all!
- Also, develop a target to determine how much money will be spent for this year’s Christmas, and start bowling towards your savings accordingly!
2. Prioritize Your Debts and Expenses
This is the next most important thing! You can’t clear all your debts in a month’s time. So figure out the debts that you are thinking about the most.For example, your mortgage payments or auto loan payments are going to stay with you for quite some time! You don’t need to worry about those. Hence target those itchy credit card debts and those payday loan debts right away. These debts are a hassle and might prevent you from enjoying a headache free Christmas!
3. Select a Suitable Debt Relief Option
This part is critical. With credit card debts, you can opt for a balance transfer method. If you have a number of payday loan debts, you can try out debt settlement, or consolidation! Whatever you choose, just make sure you are able to clear your target debts in a few months time.
Though it’s difficult to clear debts fast, if your target debt amount is below $5000, then a consolidation program might help you out a lot. Choose the perfect debt relief option so that you can meet the target time you have in your mind, and be able to save a good lump sum on your debts!
4. Plan a Savings Strategy
The next focus is your saving strategy!
If you choose a consolidation program then the company will give a budget and a bit of financial consultancy, which will help you to achieve your savings goal. You can also do a DIY (Do It Yourself) your savings. You just have to find out how much money you need this Christmas and New year.
Next, set up an amount that will be divided into debt payments and savings. For the month of December, you can definitely try out backward budgeting! With this method, as soon as you receive your paycheck you will set aside your Christmas savings amount. Then keep aside your debt amount, and follow up your other expenses as per their order of importance!
5. Talk With Family About Your Saving Plans
Things will be easy, and more beautiful if you tell your family about the debt swiping you are about to do, and how you plan to save money for Christmas at the same time.
You just don’t know, your spouse, or you’re grown up kids might actually be ready to help you, with your debts. If they are smart enough, they can help you make extra payments in clearing the debts.
Also letting your family know about your plans, won’t keep them in the dark but get them on board with your saving plans.
6. Pick Up A Side Job
One of the quickest ways to save money for Christmas is to pick up a side job! You can find opportunities to earn extra money almost everywhere. If you are in need of a second job, but can’t find the suitable one or you don’t have time to add part-time job due to the hectic lifestyle you lead, then here are a few ways you can earn money without getting a real job!
7. Regulate Your Spending Habits
It’s practically not easy, to maintain good spending habits but a helpful way to save money is to actually regulate your spending habits. My first suggestion would be to postpone your credit card usage and start paying with cash for every purchase you make. A key quote that I normally follow and tell to other people looking to get out of debt is:
“The last thing you want is incurring more debt while you are out clearing debts!” Credit cards are a menace that you surely want to avoid!
8. Do Your Christmas Shopping on “Deal” Days
Definitely get some of your shopping done on on days that have “deals” such as Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. You will get the chance to do your Christmas shopping while saving lots because of the eye-popping deals. So make to use the deal days to gather all you want for Christmas.
9. Try out Promotional Reward Cards
This is that time when all the popular stores and retail outlets come out with these promotional cards like gift cards, incentive cards, reward cards or just plain prepaid cards. Sometimes these cards carry some cool features on them, and with holiday season overheads, these stores do everything to attract customers! So you can definitely try them out if you want to earn those loyalty points and redeem them to reap profits while shopping.
10. Sell Your Unwanted Items
This Christmas season you can sell all those ‘unwanted’ items that are piled in your house. These include any old pair of jeans, electronic goods, old furniture or anything that you don’t need anymore. You can easily sell them off to a thrift store or on Craigslist to receive a lump sum that you can use in paying off debts and/or add to your savings for Christmas!
11. Have an Energy-Efficient Christmas
Make it a resolution to save energy this Christmas. Spend your holiday without taking up a ton of electricity consumption. By doing so, you will be able to reduce your electricity bills and save money. The department of energy has a great post to help you have an energy efficient Christmas!
12. Create Homemade Gifts
As your plans are high this year, you can switch to handmade gifts and save a ton of money. Though it will take a little bit more time and creativity you can surely save money if you make the gifts yourself. Another way to save is by creating decorations for your Christmas tree and home layout. You can handcraft them by using papers, scissors, and glue! So plan out what gifts you will give to your loved ones and see if you can make some in your home yourself.
12. Have the Party At A Family Member’s House
If you are really looking to save a ton of money try hosting the Christmas party at a friend’s or family member’a place this year. Most of the time your family and friends will understand your financial liabilities this holiday. If you want to be debt free, small sacrifices will definitely help you get there. #woohoo! So plan this year’s party at your friend’s or other family member’s place, and take the wine, cakes, and turkey with you!
13. Plan Frugal Dishes for the Christmas Party
Where does all the money go on Christmas? First the decoration, then the food! With Christmas, we start to salivate for food and wine, like poverty struck victims of an apocalypse, ha!.
But to get ahead it’s a good idea to tie a knot to your gastronomical enticements this year and plan on dishes that won’t hurt your pocket much. So think about and choose a dish that’s tasty and budget-friendly.
If you search the internet, you will find loads of economical mouthwatering dishes. Also, USDA has a good page showing healthy, tasty and affordable holiday menus to help you out.
14. Start planning for the next Christmas
It’s never too early to start planning for the next Christmas. If you follow each of the steps to be debt free in this post, there are high chances you will be able to clear your debts by next year.
So you have ample time in your hand to plan a big blast for the next Christmas! You can also shop for the next Christmas, this year, as the post-holiday sales really go high once the occasions are over! So that’s all buddies!
With this, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy new year!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andy is a contributor to the Oak View Law Group and contributes specifically on personal finance topics. You can also find him fielding queries based on money management topics on various online communities and social media platforms.