Make sure seasonal spending doesn't get ugly.
6 simple steps to saving during the holidays
If you’re like most shoppers, there’s a good chance you’ll hand over $1,007¹ in holiday gifts, parties and other expenses this year. Yes, the goodwill can add up fast. Yet there are ways for you to keep the holiday spirit and preserve your money, too.
1. Make a game plan for your spending.
When you’re planning all the fun things to do over the holidays, making a budget probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But it’s the first thing you may consider thinking about if you want to head into spring without a pile of debt.
After you’ve determined your budget, jot down everyone you’re going to buy gifts for. Then, keep your list handy and refer to it often to make sure you stick to your plan. You might also want to leave a little wiggle room to cover any holiday travel or party expenses that could pop up.
2. Shop all year long.
Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But making holiday purchases throughout the year is a good way to spread out costs and find items at the best price. Plus, shopping early will help cut back on hasty purchases that could lead to overspending.
3. Save all year long, too.
Think about setting up a holiday savings account with automatic transfers from your checking account each month. That way you can contribute little by little and earn interest all year. There are also several apps available that can help make saving simple.
4. Turn pennies into presents.
Saving change is an easy, old-school way to put money aside without putting much of a dent in your finances. Throw your leftover coins into a jar every day, and you could end up with extra cash by the end of the year.
5. Address the white elephant in the room.
Remember, you don’t have to buy presents for everyone you care about. Suggest having a family gift exchange or white elephant party to save money and have fun. Even better, volunteer at a local shelter or food pantry to pass along the spirit of giving in a meaningful way.
6. Make it yourself.
DIY gifts or baked goods are thoughtful and affordable ways you can spread the holiday cheer. If you’re hosting a gettogether, whip up your own food and decorations to cut back on costs. Invite friends over beforehand for a social and productive holiday craft party.
It's possible to enjoy all the festivities without going overboard with your spending. After all, spending time with friends and family is what the season’s really about—and it doesn’t cost a dime.
If you have your heart set on purchasing gifts this holiday, check out some additional tips for shopping smart.
1 Based on average holiday spend. “Consumers Will Spend 4.1% More than Last Year during Winter Holidays, According to NRF Survey.” National Retail Federation, October 2018.
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