How We See It

Sara Collins

Sara Collins

Posted:
November 18, 2013

How to Save Money During the Holidays

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Does the approaching holiday season fill you with joy – or dread? For many consumers, the pressure of financial worries often hampers holiday cheer. The costs of gifts, big meals and travel expenses add up quickly, making an already hectic time even more stressful. If this sounds familiar it’s time to learn a few ways you can alleviate the burden on your wallet and spend more time relaxing. Try these simple tips to save on some of the season’s most common expenses.
 

‘Tis the season for budgeting

 Setting a concrete budget for your gift list is the first step toward managing your holiday costs. A simple handwritten list or Excel spreadsheet is all it takes to get a handle on your seasonal expenses and avoid overspending. Record each recipient’s name along with the amount you’re willing to spend, then add those amounts together. Make another column covering what you’ll need beyond gifts, such as decorations, food, travel and even pet boarding. If your total gift budget cuts into other essential areas of your holiday necessities, start scaling back your gift expenditures. Once these are set on paper you’ll find it much easier to reign in your spending.
 

Give the old-fashioned way

Who says you have to run out and drop your hard earned cash on the biggest, most expensive items for gifts? Create gift baskets filled with homemade baked goods or buy items in bulk for each basket, like bath products or kitchen amenities. Print up creative coupons offering your time as a gift, for tasks such as babysitting, dog walking, yard cleaning or cooking a meal. Your personalized effort will be worth more to your loved ones than any dollar amount you could spend.
 

Send an e-card

Save money and the environment by sending out emailed holiday cards this year instead of dozens of paper ones. If you’re computer savvy or know someone who is, put together a heartfelt or humorous digital message or poem, along with your favorite holiday photo. Send these out with the click of your mouse instead springing for costly postage on top of cards, envelopes and printing costs.
 

Eat, drink and be wary

Restaurants get busier than ever during the holidays, and it’s no wonder why. When you get burned out from hunting down Black Friday deals and whipping up elaborate meals, kicking back and letting someone else prepare dinner sounds extra appealing. Everyone deserves a break from the season’s unavoidable stresses, but try to keep restaurant trips to a minimum and take advantage of special deals like Happy Hour specials. Some restaurants allow you to bring your own beverage, which can mean the difference between enjoying a $10 bottle of wine and a $30 one – just be sure to see how much their ‘corkage fee’ is ahead of time.
 

Give yourself the gift of cheap travel

Travel can take the biggest chunk out of your wallet. Here are a few ways to save if your holiday destination is a plane ride away:

  • Buy your seats as far in advance as possible
  • Book Tuesdays or Wednesdays which are generally cheaper days to travel
  • Overnight flights cost less
  • Look for online coupon deals and price comparison websites
  • Use your credit card rewards points

 

Don’t let the stress of holiday spending get the best of you. Getting creative, setting goals and keeping costs in perspective can help you and your family relax and enjoy the season.

 
 
 
 

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