25 Genius Ways to Save Money During the Holidays
The holiday season is an exciting time, full of cheer and families coming together for special traditions. However, for many it can be an expensive and stressful time—between decorations, groceries, parties and travel – the holiday season can often take a toll on one’s wallet. This year, prepare yourself for the extra costs and take the stress out of the season by using these tips to get your finances, and your holiday, off on the right track.
- Take advantage of holiday deals. Items you have on your gift list may be heavily discounted during these shopping holidays.
- Create a plan. While doing your holiday shopping, map out gifts for everyone on your list to make sure you don’t go overboard with spending.
- Go electronic – instead of sending annual holiday invites or holiday cards, send everything out electronically via e-cards to save yourself money in the long run.
- Conserve energy when it comes to decorations. While holiday lights are always a nice touch, turning them off earlier instead of having them on all night will help save energy as well as minimize electricity costs.
- Test out your thrifty side – look for coupons for the items on your wish list. Coupons can be clipped from newspapers and magazines, or printed off from online websites.
- Try DIY homemade gifts. Making special gifts by hand for family and friends can often be more meaningful than a store-bought item, and can save money as well.
- If booking holiday travel, make sure you do it through the legitimate party – third party bookings are often costlier and upcharge.
- Take advantage of apps (such as ones for your iPhone) that help you keep track of your budget and find the best deals.
- Pay with cash – studies show we spend less money when we pay with cash than with cards. Leave your credit cards at home to make sure you stick to your gifting budget.
- Sign up for membership/loyalty programs at your favorite stores.
- Prepare meals ahead of time. This will help you to save time and dollars, as well as avoiding the temptation of costly meals out.
- Create a budget for each part of your holiday shopping: one for meals, one for travel, one for gifts, etc.
- Invest some of the budgeted money into your loved one’s Future Scholar college savings account. For more information on holiday gifting check out: https://futurescholar.com/gifts/.
- Check out our $529 contribution sweepstakes we’ve promoted this year on our website and Facebook page such as this year’s Palmetto Baby and #FutureScholarHoller giveaways. Check back often for more giveaways.
- Get on the potluck bandwagon. Potluck meals are a great way to reduce costs when cooking for a large group, and are a fun way to get everyone involved.
- Get your FAFSA forms in as early as possible. The earlier you turn them in, the more likely you will be to receive financial aid for the school year.
- Save your receipts to help you track your spending, as well as to ensure you stick to your holiday budget.
- Take advantage of the after-holiday sales. Many items are up to 90 percent off, and can be given as gifts for the next year.
- Start early to avoid rushing and purchasing costly items at the last minute.
- Use the secret Santa method. For large families, buying for one assigned person is much easier, and cheaper, than buying a gift for everyone. Secret Santa is a great way to make holiday gifting fun and affordable.
- Create low-cost, meaningful traditions instead of gifts. For example, going ice-skating, to holiday light shows or baking cookies are fun traditions your family can partake in that will create lasting memories, without breaking the bank.
- Open a holiday spending account at the end of November for anticipated holiday costs. A separate account is often a good way to help one stick to their budget.
- Buy less décor for your home: Sometimes less is more. In addition, making holiday décor is a great way to save money.
- Avoid layaway costs. While it can seem like a great option for a more expensive gift, there are often layaway fees tacked to the price tag that can quickly add up.
- Last but not least, remember the reason for the season and teach that to your children. Ask them to volunteer for a worthy charity instead of going out to an expensive dinner, or getting a few less gifts and donating the extra money. This not only helps instill the gift of giving back, but helps spread the holiday cheer!
Here’s to kicking off the holiday season on the right track. From the Future Scholar Family to yours, we wish you a happy and healthy 2018, and a wonderful holiday season.