Saving money during the holidays

The holidays can be a fun time for your friends and family but many find themselves starting a new year with a great deal of debt. More often than not, the holiday fever overtakes you and you find yourself buying a multitude of gifts for Christmas that overwhelm your budget. Alternatively, you may plan for an exotic destination that is too expensive so you end up paying for it the entire duration of the year. If you want to enjoy your holiday without regretting it later, here are some few tips to help save your money.

Make prior preparations.

Holidays are expensive affairs. Understanding this, you therefore need to plan for them early on. Make a holiday budget and set a limit of how much you are comfortable spending. Getting into a store without one will lead you into getting too caught up in buying items thus failing to properly regulate your cash. Also, set aside money for the holiday as it approaches. Pick two months in the year with minimum budgetary demands. During these months, use your earnings for bare essentials and put away the rest under ‘Holiday budget’. This will allow you to put your money to good use instead of engaging in frivolous spending.

Use cash.

Christmas isn’t a good time to rely on your credit cards. It’s very easy to lose track of what you’re spending money on when you aren’t paying for items upfront. Many expenses take the form of little extras such as postage costs that are often overlooked. You may end up having a very inaccurate estimate of the amount you spend. Instead, withdraw a set amount of money and use it to make all purchases. When your cash runs out, consider your holiday spending to be over.

Appreciate the value of intangibles.

Christmas is not necessarily the time to go for expensive gifts to make others feel appreciated. Go for meaning instead of just the price when selecting gifts for those you love. If you’re an artist, paint a portrait of your favourite time together for your friends, and they will probably appreciate it more than any coffee maker you buy. Such thoughtful gestures will also go a long way in reducing your costs.

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Shop smart.

Don’t engage in last minute shopping during the holiday season. Start shopping before the holiday rush to save your money. This will allow you to spend more time comparing prices and looking around for the best deals. Pick items on sale from a variety of retailers and also utilize the many promotional deals that crop up during the holiday season.

Put away the surplus for later.

Other than the decorations, many other implements for the holiday can be stored for the next year. Extra gift boxes, gift wrappings, and gifts can be put away to await the next holiday season. Set aside a holiday trunk to store such items instead of going shopping each time around then discarding the surplus. This is a great strategy to mitigate your holiday costs and avoid being wasteful.