As we approach the holidays, what is for many an expensive time of the year, it is possible to enjoy the festivities debt-free.
Get into good habits
Now is the perfect time to get into good habits and ditch the bad ones. If you’re spending $5 a day on a latte imagine how much you will save in a week, a month, and better still a year. Sure, treat yourself on the weekends but cut back during the workweek.
The same goes for lunch. If you’re spending $10 to $15 a day you could slash your daily expenses by bringing a packed lunch. At this time of year, it’s even more tempting to splurge. If you make a concerted effort to cut back on the extras now imagine how much easier it will be in the new year.
Sometimes cash is the better option
It’s so easy to hand over a credit card without feeling the pinch – until you receive the credit card bill. Mix it up a little: use your credit card for larger purchases, but use cash day-to-day and you will gain a better idea of your expenses. Once you’ve spent all the cash in your wallet for the week, or month, know that you’ve hit your limit and you need to cut back in the future.
Make a list
A shopping strategy is key to saving money during the holidays. Lists aren’t just for Santa. Make a list of all the gifts you need to purchase before you hit the stores. The stores will use every opportunity to encourage you to spend more money. Resist temptation. If you have a list and you stick to it you are less likely to purchase additional items and spend more than what you had budgeted.
Don’t wait until December to start shopping for your holiday gifts. The longer you give yourself the more time you have to research and shop around. If you want to support local stores don’t fall into the trap of thinking big box stores are cheaper. This isn’t always the case. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask the local stores about any offers they might have or are planning. Be savvy. Follow your favorite stores on social media. Smaller independent local stores will often use Facebook and Instagram to promote offers because it is cost effective for them to do so. Not only will they have promotions in the run-up to the holidays but many will also run competitions and you could win a gift or two.
Don’t be put off by the idea of giving something handmade. It could be as simple as a box of homemade cookies, a cake, or savory baked goods, which all make for excellent gifts during the holidays. If you have kids get them involved too. Salt dough cutouts, painted, and decorated with glitter make great gifts for relatives. Hand printed tea towels or aprons are a wonderful memento and there’s always the jam jar snow globe that can take pride of place on the mantel every holiday. Making your gifts can definitely help save money but watch how much you’re spending on the ingredients for cookies or paint for hand printing; be frugal no matter what your purchase is. You can even save money on wrapping paper. For one thing, when the January sales come round stock up on paper for Christmas 2019.
If you find at the end of the holidays you’ve still struggled to keep up with expenses, it’s worth looking into our Christmas Club or regular savings account so you can put a little bit of money aside each month and build up reserves for the holidays. Visit any of our branches in New Berlin, Springfield, Modesto and Palmyra.