While the holidays are about coming together with family and friends, it can also become a burden on your wallet. Holiday festivities often include various costs such as party arrangements, food, travel expenses and more. Gifts often become the largest holiday expense you will have to worry about. Here are a few helpful tips to help you reduce the cost of major holiday expenses during this year’s holiday season.
- First, you need to set a reasonable budget. Set this realistic amount of money aside and stick to it. Ideally, you can save for the holidays by keeping holiday money separate from your other accounts in order to allow it to sit and grow over the year leading up to the holiday season. However, even if you were not able to do this, you can take the time to set out a budget that will allow you to pay for gifts and other expenses while not cutting into your budgets for other necessities and payments.
- Start shopping early to save money. Not only can shopping early help reduce stress during the holidays, but also it can allow you to find fantastic savings. In the month preceding the holidays, there are often more online coupons available to shoppers. Take advantage of big sale opportunities such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday. While Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) may be too overwhelming for some, Cyber Monday provides deals to you from the comfort of your home or office the Monday after Thanksgiving.
- Trim your gift list. It may be hard to decide which people in your life you want to give gifts to during the holidays, but you do need to be selective in order to stay within a reasonable budget. Give some thought to this and try to narrow your list down to your closest friends and family members. If you really have a hard time ding this, consider baking a large batch of cookies that can easily and inexpensively be packaged and given to people in your life such as co-workers or others who provide services to you like the bus driver who takes your kids to school or the mailman. Cookies are a thoughtful way to show someone they are appreciated, without overspending during the holidays on individualized gifts.
- In addition to cookies, homemade gifts in general can be an excellent way to cut back on holiday spending without sacrificing giving a quality gift. Utilize your creative side to make unique, personal gifts that cannot be found in a store. These will likely be more appreciated since you put your own time, energy and effort into them, instead of simply paying for them in a store. Consider gifts such as personal photo albums or scrapbooks and other items your friends and family will love.
- Finally, during holiday shopping, many shoppers end up spending extra money on themselves. It is so tempting to develop the “one for you, one for me” kind of mentality when you see items you really want in a store at the mall. Use your self-restraint and stay focused on your objective. Have a list of people you are shopping for and items you want to give them so that you will be more likely to keep a one-track mindset instead of giving into frivolous spending.
Keeping these suggestions in mind when shopping during the holiday season will help you to cut back on spending while still giving your friends and family the gifts they want, need and deserve. Take the time to budget for gifts, use online coupons and shop when stores are offering big deals, trim your gift giving list, make home made gifts, and avoid buying gifts for yourself in order to save money effectively during the holidays.