The time of year where it seems as though money is literally flying out your window is quickly approaching. Regardless of whether you have tons of money saved up in bank account or you’re just living from paycheck to paycheck, watching your money go is never a joyous event. Fortunately, seeing the joy on someones face when they open a gift that you handpicked for them makes it all worth it. I’m sure at some point in your life you have had to come up with some creative ways to provide gifts for your friends and family. I, myself, did a lot of crafting in my college days. Amazingly, those were the gifts that mattered the most. Getting back to the point, there are many simple ways to cut back spending throughout the year to help give you some extra cash for the holidays. Hopefully these easy tips can help you sweat a little less next season. After all, it’s supposed to be a happy and merry season!
- Eat out less. This one might be tough for some people, but it is essential. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a dinner out with your significant other or a lunch date with your friends, but the frequent visits to McDonalds or Starbucks (yes, coffee counts) can do a lot of damage to your bank account. When I taught elementary school, I would frequently go out to lunch because I didn’t have time to make a lunch. In reality, it took longer for me to leave work, order food, and get back to work than it would if I just brought my own lunch! To make things easier, after you finish supper pull out a lunch size container and prep your leftover lunch for the next day. When I make larger meals, like casseroles, I will divide half of it into lunch portions and stick it in the freezer for my hubby to take to work. Many people will find that eating in will save you at least $100-$200 a month.
- Cut out cable. I know I wrote about this in a previous blog, but I just want to revisit this topic quickly. Cutting out cable can be a HUGE money saver. It has saved us over $100 a month. Thats $1200 a year. You cant argue with that. There are so many other entertainment options in today’s world, that to me it just doesn’t make sense to have cable. Here are some alternatives: Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, HD Antenna, bunny ears, and buying your TV series at a used entertainment store. The costs of these options are minimal and some are just a one time fee! It’s worth it people!
- Buy used. This tip is helpful for everyone, but especially those with kids. I look around my house, my daughters room, and all of her toys and I can happily say that at least 90% of our belongings are used! It doesn’t mean they look worn or trashy, in fact most of our stuff is in great shape. It may take a little more time and effort to find specific items that you or your child are looking for, but why spend the extra money if something just as good is half the price. I also love that when you buy something used, it has a story. Whether it’s your own story about the bargain price you got it for or the previous owner telling you stories about where it came from. To me thats a lot more fun than picking it up for full price at a retail store.
- No Spend Week. My husband and I just recently started this routine. For one week out of the month we spend money only on absolute necessities, like gas, vets, doctors, emergencies, and necessary food items. We try to eat whatever we already have in the fridge and pantry, but on occasion you may need a few items to complete your recipes. Going out to eat and leisurely shopping is out of the question. Surprisingly it not only saves money for the week, but it also helps reel our consumerism tendencies back in. The weeks following we find ourselves constantly questioning if we need something or if we just want it. Trust me, it’s not as hard as it seems!
There are many, many more ways to cut back on your spending, you just have to find what works best for you and your family. Make a list of the things you typically spend money on, prioritize them, and decide how you can make adjustments. Spending less shouldn’t make you miserable, it should make you feel good! Making smart financial choices and starting early in the year can definitely make your holidays a little more merry and bright. What are some of your money saving tips? Thanks again for reading!