Summer feels like yesterday, but soon enough the holidays are around the corner. Holidays do not only mean gifts, fun, and more rest; they also imply more spending. If you haven’t started to save money for the holidays yet, now it’s time to make some financial plan for those special days. Here are some tips on how to save money for your holidays.
Make a list of your potential spending for the holidays.
Usually these are the costs triggered from holidays:
–Party costs (you attend or host): food, drink, utensil & napkins
–Decorations (e.g., Christmas trees, lighting, red bows)
–Travel costs (e.g., flight, rental cars, gas)
–Donations and Tips to your service providers
Tips on saving for each part of the holiday spending
a. Party costs:
If you are hosting but you have a limited budget, consider the number of people you will invite. Maybe only limit to an intimate level. If there is no way you can reduce the number of guests, without increasing your budget, you can consider asking each family bring one or two their favorite dishes to the party instead of any other gifts.
Check your local grocery store for generic and discount food. Buy whole vegetables and make your own salad instead of prepackaged salad. Chicken, ground beef, pork are cheaper meat choices.
Don’t go with those nice cuts of meat when you have a tight budget. Use a slow cooker for tougher cuts of meat which are cheaper and prepare soups and stews which usually don’t need that much meat.
When you do grocery shopping, don’t forget to use the wonderful cashback apps.
You don’t need fancy tablecloths or serving trays to make your holiday party look great. Go to dollar store to buy cheap ones. Use small or medium sized plates so people don’t pile their plates with too much food at once.
As for party drinks, punch is a great option to serve a signature drink on a budget. When you have a large gathering, you can save money by buying drinks in bulk. If you have to serve alcohol in your holiday party, find inexpensive wine with decent taste. Or you can ask your guests to bring a bottle of wine if they can’t bring a dish.
To entertain your guests after dinner, you can throw a movie night with homemade popcorn. Or prepare some fun card games or board games. There are many party game ideas that won’t cost money but will need some preparation in advance.
People love to decorate their home for the holidays. But the cost for holiday decor can add up quickly and become burdensome. To save money on home decoration, you need to be practical and creative.
Use whatever decorations you already have. Keep it simple and focus on specific areas. You don’t have to decorate the whole house; instead, you can put more decoration in your entryway, living room and bathroom, where your guests often stay and visit.
You can also make DIY decorations by using free resources from nature. Pine cones, acorns, and red berries are some nice choices for holiday-themed decorations.
If you need to travel during holidays, be sure to plan early using those tips on how to budget and save for a trip. It is recommended you book flights at least six weeks in advance to get the best price.
Be flexible on your travel date. The Friday before Christmas is the most expensive day to travel since many people are taking the day off to have a long holiday break. Try to avoid flying on that day.
Use fare-tracking apps like Hopper or Kayak to book flights and hotels at the right time and save money.
Instead of parking your car at airport for the holiday, you may save money by taking Uber or Lyft or finding a carpool.
Explore different transportation options to save money. If travel by air is beyond what you can afford, check out train or bus.
If you are a pet owner, boarding your pet at a pet hotel or taking your pet with you in the airplane can be costly. One option is to go to Rover.com to find a qualifying pet sitter to come to your home and care for your pet for less money.
Holiday gift shopping could be a big financial burden to many people. Make a budget for gifts based on how much money you plan to spend on each person on your list. Try to stay within your budget.
Regularly compare prices across different stores for the same product or compare different products to get the one with discounted price. Many stores such as Best Buy and Walmart offer price-match. They will refund your money if you show the same product is cheaper at another store.
You can also consider DIY your gifts, which is a great way to save cash during holidays. Check out these simple creative ideas for DIY holiday gifts.
e. Donation and Tips:
You can actually save money on taxes by making donations to charities. You can donate money, vehicle, used household items, clothes, etc. Document your donations so you can use them to claim your deductions for charitable giving at next year tax time.
To thank the service providers’ good work, you can give them gift cards instead of cash. Buy discounted gift cards from Raise to get most out of your cash. Use this invitation link or enter code “LYE9408“ to get $5 when you purchase a gift card within 30 days of signing up for an account.
If you already have Raise account, you can use Rakuten or TopCashback link for cashback for shopping from Raise.
Holiday is the best time to get together with your family and friends. Spend smart and save money for your holidays. A sensible spending plan will help your family’s finance in a good position for the coming year.