Having good saving habits is in everybody’s favor not just when it comes to the Christmas or other holiday season but during the whole year. The ability to save and keep track of your earnings and expenses is the key to nurture better money-saving habits and have a fulfilling life free of money issues. Additionally, it won’t hurt if you gain better awareness of the economy and learn basic things about Finance.
Fortunately, this article aims to walk you through some proven money saving tips for the holiday season and prepare you for the upcoming holidays so you could make the most of them.
Boost your main income
Think of the best ways you can increase your income. If you already have a full-time job, perhaps you can look for options to make extra cash. Take into consideration the things you are good at and try to make money of them. Always keep in mind that time is a valuable resource and you must spend it wisely because once lost it can never be found again. Whether you’ll be spending it binge-watching sitcoms or learning a second language, it’s up to you. I’d suggest you do something beneficial like learning new skills because later you’ll be able to make money of them. If you are an Internet whiz, for example, there are plenty of online job opportunities for you, including online surveys, web research, search engine evaluation, online advertisements quality rating, transcription, data entry, etc. Many web-based companies pay people to work from home on a flexible work schedule so look around and take advantage of your talents. The more money you make, the more you can save.
Stay away from short-term loan companies
Numerous credit companies are ready to lend you money, which you must return from the next paycheck. This service is on a short-term basis and might be a good option to handle temporary money issues due to unforeseen expenses like medical costs, tuition fees, etc. However, taking money from loan companies, in most cases, is a bad idea. First, the amount of money you’ll have to give back is bigger because of the interest rate. Second, you risk entering a vicious circle where you borrow and pay back. This practice will always leave you moneyless, especially when you live paycheck-to-paycheck. Instead of paying money on loans, you can put it in something that is more useful to you. Loans are hazardous. If you delay payment, you will get a bad credit tag and banks will refuse to lend you money in the future.
Avoid borrowing from friends/colleagues/family
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “The borrower is slave to the lender and the debtor to creditor”. Borrowing money from people close to you is less risky than payday loans, but still, avoid doing it unless you’re in a very desperate situation. Gambling and borrowing are enemies of saving. To save money, first fill the gap between your income and expenses. Don’t spend more than you earn. Adapt your lifestyle to your income and you won’t need to borrow money. If you can’t repay the money you risk losing people’s trust and it’s not worth it.
Say “No” to gambling
Gambling is a very, very risky thing to do. Don’t listen to what people say. Games, lottery, poker, bookmaking and other similar activities aren’t a reliable source of money. You may have won $20 or even $100 dollars today, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll always walk with luck. Gambling companies profit from people’s foolishness. They build the illusion you can become a millionaire. They throw small amounts of cash as rewards just to get you on the hook. Don’t fall for commercial that sell hope. Stay away from any gambling activities, especially during the Holidays.
If you start saving money for only one particular reason, you take the risk to save up to a certain time and squander the savings for something else. Then you’ll be back to square one. Save money not just for the holidays. In fact, after the New Year buzz goes away, shops will come up with new deals and the shopping days won’t be over. Set realistic goals you are able to achieve. Have many goals, but let one of them to be primary and long-term, like saving for your daughter to go to college or visiting that foreign country you’ve always wanted. Goals give you that drive to save more. Next time you attempt to make an impulse buy, think of your goals.
Money for emergencies
Set a savings account and always keep money in it. Or, you can keep money in uncommon places in your house – drawers, clothes, books. Thus, when you have an emergency, you can start looking for those money and take a good use of it. You don’t know what the future holds, therefore, you must always have cash hidden somewhere.
Keep your wish list short
It’s not a bad thing to have a wish list, just avoid buying things out of control. Only buy what you really need. Before you go shopping, make a list and stick to it. There will be things you’ll like at the store from first sight, but if they are not on your list, they are not that important, right?
Kill bad habits
If you are a heavy smoker, try to cut down cigarettes. If you are an avid alcohol drinker, don’t buy the top brand
whiskey. Likewise, cigar aficionados don’t have to give up smoking, only aim for cigar brands that cost less but still taste good. Enjoy having many cups of coffee per day, get your own coffee instead of buying it from the cafeteria or coffee machines.
Go shopping online
If you buy the holiday gifts online, you will save time and money. First, the moment you enter the store, you’ll be tempted with so many other beautiful purchase-inciting items which are not on your wish list. When you browse shopping sites, the risk of overspending is lower. Walmart and Amazon have everything one could possibly need or want. And, you are able to compare the prices. In case you have an instant impulse to buy something, you can control it by simply closing the website.
Start buying presents earlier
The early bird catches the worm. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy presents for friends and family. Start buying months earlier. From September to December, there is plenty of time to buy enough presents to make everybody happy. Plus, you won’t burden your last paycheck and avoid further uninvited fiscal issues.
Don’t buy on impulse
Give yourself some time to think if you really need this item. If you can come up with two or three good reasons that the purchase is worth it, then you can go back at the store. A good way to overcome that impulse is to think of many reasons not to buy this thing. The rule applies to everything, not only Christmas presents, but also vacation trips, beauty products, clothes, games, books, mobile apps, etc.
Avoid carrying much cash
The more money you have in your pocket, the higher is the risk of overspending. Take just enough cash to buy the most important. Develop your holiday budget in advance and stick to it. Make no compromises.
Credit card is only for emergencies
That’s right. You use your credit card only to meet unexpected costs not to buy fancy clothes or tech accessories. The credit card is for cases of severe money need, so use it wisely.
Aim for better deals
Whether books, DVDs, clothes, or games, some websites and stores do offer customers very good deals. Try to buy the primary things from the right places at the right time, i.e. when they are on sale. This will save you time and many useless trips to stores. Equally important, try to buy consumer goods and supplies only when you are running out of them.
I good way to save money for the Holidays is to use your creativity and make the gifts on your own. Instead of buying trivial items, try to make something valuable this year. Give your friends presents that were made by you.
Get the most of used stuff
Sell everything you don’t need or want. The best way to get some extra cash is by selling used items, and the other way around, buy yourself used stuff. This is really good way to save money. Need a couch, check for a garage sale somewhere nearby or browse web platforms like eBay.
Cut down your costs altogether
There are many simple ways to save money in general. Start with cutting down the expenses of your house:
- Save on gas. Take the bus to go to work, not your car.
- Cut off cable TV. You can live it through. As long as you have a stable Internet to connect with the world, you’ll feel like you’ve lost nothing.
- Pay your debts on time. Thus, you’ll avoid paying fees.
- Cut all membership fees. This includes applications, magazines, less important computer software, Internet forums, fitness memberships, etc.
- Grow your own vegetables. Only if you have the right conditions to do so.
- Take advantage of discounts. If you enjoy some company benefits like purchase discounts, now is the best time to use them.
- Limit your hobby spending. Do it for a little while until your financial health is stable.
- Quit eating out. Give up the luxury lifestyle you can’t afford. Eating every other day in restaurants is a real money-waster. Instead, prepare your meals at home. It’s cheaper and healthier.
These are some of the best tips to get into the holiday spirit while enjoying a steady budget. Some of these tips apply for the whole year, not just the holiday season.
Do you have more tips to add to our list? What are your personal techniques to keep away from overspending during the holiday season? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
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