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If you celebrate, then it comes as no surprise that the holiday season can be expensive. Between buying presents, hosting and attending holiday get-togethers, and enjoying seasonal activities, it can be all too easy to overspend. Statistics from the National Retail Federation found that consumers spent $967.13 per person on the winter holidays. Ouch! That’s no small chunk of change, especially if you’re in debt or working on building up your savings. If you’re trying to be more frugal then you need easy ways to save money over the holidays.
Instead of finding yourself with a holiday debt hangover and a big credit card bill, try using these 6 super simple ways to save money this holiday season:
Set Your Gift Budget Now
One of the smartest things you can do to keep your holiday spending in check is to set a gift budget and stick to it! Break it down by the amount for each person or just set a reasonable overall budget for all gifts. Look over your monthly budget and decide how much you can and should spend on gifts without going into debt. The last thing that you want to do is rack up credit card debt that will have you paying interest into the new year.
Make DIY Gifts
Feeling pressured to come up with a great gift idea for friends, family, coworkers, etc.? Stop stressing and put your skills to work with a DIY gift. There are so many incredibly thoughtful and easy to make handmade gifts to consider. Start browsing Pinterest to find inspiration and creative ideas to try. Many DIY gifts can be made from affordable items you already have on hand. You’ll even find hundreds of crafty ideas that can be whipped up using elements found in the dollar store. Putting your own touch on a handmade gift will make it that much more special.
Make a Black Friday Shopping Plan
Even if you don’t like to get in on the hype of shopping on Black Friday, the sales can be tough to beat! Make a plan for what you want to buy, which retailers are offering the best deals, and how you’ll make your purchases. You don’t even have to leave home to take advantage of Black Friday deals these days since retailers are in such strong competition with one another to win over shoppers.
Sit down with your gift list and see if any stores are offering unbeatable prices on the must-haves you want to purchase this holiday season. Planning ahead will save you from the stress of going out and about in the crowds on Black Friday. A little prep work can save both your money and your sanity!
Choose Special Holiday Activities
With so many fun things to do over the holiday season, it can be really tough to manage your money. You don’t want to miss out on all of the fun, but sometimes you just simply don’t have the money to see and do it all.
Make a list of all of the things you like to do and the places you like to go, whether it’s ice skating with the family, a special holiday meal at a restaurant with friends, going to a Christmas concert or play, etc. Write down the approximate cost of each activity for every family member. From there, you can narrow down the list, choosing the few activities that fit comfortably within your current budget.
Knowing how much you’ll probably spend ahead of time will help you keep your spending in check. Don’t forget that so many of the best holiday activities are free! Get creative and soak up the spirit of the season by enjoying frugal fun with loved ones.
Earn Points/Cash Back
When you do shop, pay for activities, or dine out, don’t forget to earn something in return! You can do this in a few different ways. If you shop online, be sure to sign up with Swagbucks so that you can earn points to redeem in the future for gift cards. It’s like making money for shopping! Just this holiday season I’ve cashed out $100 from my Swagbucks to put towards Christmas gifts. It’s such a huge help with my budget at this time of the year!
Another great option is to use a rewards credit card when you shop, dine out, make travel reservations, etc. Find out which of your current cards offers the best benefits or sign up for a card that rewards you for the spending you would be doing anyway! Be sure to use it on all of your purchases so that you can wrack up travel miles, reward points, or earn cash back.
It’s important that you don’t let the card benefits encourage you to spend. If you do have trouble paying off credit cards and using them responsibly, just stick to a rewards program like Swagbucks instead.
Stay home for the Holidays
Stick close to home this holiday season! Not only can holiday travel be expensive, but it’s also so stressful. Think about it- when you stay close to home, you get no airfare, no flight delays, no luggage fees, no jet-lag, etc. Opt for a relaxing staycation that doesn’t involve long car rides or trudging through packed airports.
Save yourself the hassle and the money by planning on having a cozy Christmas and New Year’s Eve at home. Plan to visit loved ones once the busy hustle and bustle of the season have passed. If it’s an option, consider inviting loved ones to stay at your home for the holidays instead.
Don’t let the most festive season eat into your budget and kill your financial goals. Try these easy ways to save money over the holidays. You’ll be less stressed and starting the new year off with no new debt. Truly a Christmas miracle!