5 Timeless Tips for Saving Money During the Holiday Season


The holiday season is a time for the spreading joy and cheer, and maybe even partaking in an indulgence or two. Along with the good times, there is also the danger of going overboard and spending above and beyond your means. Here are some handy tips to avoid finding yourself digging your way out of a financial hole after the holidays are over.

Make a Budget

Every smart financial decision (really, any decision) involves matching your means with your objectives. Making a budget will help you understand both.

In essence, a budget serves as a map for your future plans, and will allow you to make decisions while staring at the black-and-white numbers.

When compiling your budget, think about all your conceivable expenses during the holiday season. This includes the travel you want to take, the parties you want to host, the food you want to prepare, the outfits you want to buy, and the gifts you want to share with your loved ones.

Devote some time to considering all the costs involved with these expenditures, and match this with the budget you have at your disposal. This exercise will allow you to understand what is possible within your current financial framework, and where it might make sense to cut back on costs.

There is no one-size-fits-all path to finding holiday fulfillment. Make sure that you are planning according to your means, long before the holiday season begins.

Think Outside the Gift-Giving Box

There is no doubt that gifts comprise a large portion of everyone’s holiday expenditures. While gifts serve as a central part of the holiday for many, there are ways to decrease your expenses by thinking outside the box. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Secret Santa: Instead of getting an individual gift for everyone in your extended family, consider creating an arrangement whereby everyone randomly draws one person to give a gift. That way, instead of purchasing numerous presents for moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and an assortment of cousins, you can focus on just one gift. This can relieve the pressure of finding the perfect present for everyone, allowing you to devote your energies to finding something truly meaningful. It goes without saying that this will also cut down on costs. This can work with groups of friends and social clubs as well. It also does not need to be done randomly, giving everyone the opportunity to volunteer to find that special something for that special someone.

Used gifts: You can find plenty of great discounts, especially if you are willing to compromise on something that has been used before. As long as they are in good working condition, there are plenty of gifts that do not need to be brand new to be well-received. Sporty bikes, video games, electronic gadgets, or a collection of books from a favorite author; none of these need to arrive fresh from the manufacturer in order to be meaningful. Getting something used might even allow you to obtain an item of higher quality or vintage, so do not dismiss this option to save some significant cash.

Gift of time: The gifts that are often the most memorable are the ones that create an experience, preferably a shared one. Offer to take a younger sibling to dinner and a movie, your mom out for a coffee, or offer free babysitting to your best friend who just had twins. You do not have to spend a fortune to give someone a gift that they will deeply treasure, in particular if it involves spending time together.

Travel Hacks

Travel can comprise a huge portion of your holiday budgets, and trimming some of the costs inherent in getting from here-to-there (and back again) can add up.

If you have some flexibility with your dates and times, think about flying slightly earlier or later than the holiday crush of travelers. Red-eye flights have earned their name for a reason, though if you do not mind being uncomfortable for a night, they can also help you cut down on the your travel costs.

If you are traveling towards or leaving from a city with multiple airports in the vicinity, look at all of your options to see if one of them is demonstrably cheaper. Even if you have to drive an hour or two, if you can shave a couple hundred dollars off each ticket, suddenly your family of four will be flying for a much cheaper fare.

Beyond hotels and short-term apartment rentals, consider trying to find another family to do a house swap with. This can apply for vehicles as well, helping you save money on a car rental if you had planned on getting some wheels when you touch down in your destination. Just make sure that you trust the person or family coming to stay in your place or drive your car, and that any incidents are covered under your insurance policy.

Sharing in the Meal Obligations

Hosting a big holiday get-together can be a ton of work. It can constitute an intense hit on your wallet.

Whether you are hosting friends or family, think about dividing up the workload and the costs by asking everyone to bring a dish or a drink. You can either leave this up to chance or give out assignments to certain people. This can also be a way to provide a nice holiday compliment to your loved ones, by asking your Aunt Debbie to prepare her famous quiche or Cousin Dennis to prepare his delicious apple pie.

As an added perk, if everyone brings their own pots and pans to serve their delicacies, it can save you massive amounts of time cleaning dishes once the party is over.

Pay With Cash

The best way to avoid getting into credit card debt: do not use them. While you might miss out on earning miles or points from your credit card company, you will also prevent yourself from overspending on items that you probably should not be purchasing. If you make a decision to spend with cash, then you will be limiting yourself to only purchasing what you can afford.

If you know yourself and have tendencies to be just a little too outlandish with your purchases on credit, do yourself a favor and remove this temptation by simply leaving your credit cards untouched during the holiday season.

Conclusion: More Cheer, Less Debt

This holiday season, be intentional with your spending decisions. The options to splurge are plentiful, but so are your opportunities to spend wisely without compromising on the holiday cheer. So relax and enjoy the spirit of the season with your loved ones, without stressing too much about your obligations, responsibilities, and finances. And isn’t that what the holidays are really all about?


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