“Something for mom, for dad, a gift for new baby, 4 items for the toddler, 4 presents for the preschooler, something special for hubby…” and suddenly the holidays seems to only look like dollar signs! Even if everyone got only one $10 gift, I am pretty sure I would be spending over $150, but the reality is it’s way more expensive than that.
Even if you have a separate giving and gift fund to use and save money all year for Christmas and the holiday season, it can still be a stressful time of year because of how expensive it is.
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5 Tricks to Saving Money this Holiday Season
There is no doubt that the holiday season can be an expensive time of year. If you’re looking for ways to make the holidays fit into your budget, the good news is that there are plenty of easy ways to save!
Instead of having a minor panic attack over all the money going out of your bank account during the holidays, make some wise choices to make your spending count and to work a little smarter with your money during quarter 4.
Do most of your shopping at the same stores
If you become a store loyalty member, you can earn in-store rewards every time you shop. You can use the rewards to buy more gifts.
Use price comparison apps
Apps like ShopSavvy and RedLaser can help you find out if other stores have lower prices simply scanning the item’s barcode.
Shop with a credit card
While you won’t want to go into debt over the holidays, using credit cards that offer cash back rewards can get you money back. Be sure to pay off the items ASAP to prevent credit from accumulating.
And don’t forget to not open up a bunch of cards at the same time. Use what you already have or consider opening just one card with great rewards options. Too many soft checks on your credit score at the same time can be damaging.
We have a friend whose financial planning professor in college had a credit score of 800 while having 22 active cards. He used them exclusively for the rewards and opened them slowly over time. So it can be done. You just have to be extremely mindful of what you will actually use.
Shopping with a card also helps if returns are involved. And as my dad mentioned, buying Santa gifts should never be on the same receipt as anything else because apparently I noticed this when I was about 5.
Consider hosting a potluck
Instead of having a holiday dinner where you provide all of the food, ask your guests to each bring a dish. Not only will have less food preparations to do, but you’ll also save money.
Friends and family coming to the potluck can also be in charge of bringing things like disposable plates, cups, silverware and more to reduce the amount of time spent prepping and cleaning up.
Find free holiday activities to enjoy
Rather than spending loads of money, see what free activities are offered in your area. Winter festivals, tree lighting ceremonies, and Christmas light displays are just some of the things you can do and stay on your budget.
How do you save money during expensive times of year?
Kara is the mother of 3 children living and working in Boston, MA. She hates to spend money and absolutely has to know that every penny is worth it before buying. Her educational focus both as a student and a teacher was research… she has put those skills to good use to make wise purchases.