7 ways to save money this holiday season
Here are a few tips to help you ring in the new decade with as little debt as possible.
1. Reconsider whom you need to shop for
At different points in our lives, it makes sense to shop for certain people and not for others. For example, when our nieces and nephews are young, gifts are appropriate but when they’re adults, maybe a heartfelt card is enough.
Go through your list and decide whom you really need to shop for and who can make do with a heartfelt holiday wish.
2. Set yourself a limit – and stick to it
Now that you know who you need to shop for, set yourself a budget based on what you can reasonably afford. Set aside one “money bucket” for gifts, remembering to factor in the cost of wrapping paper, tape, greeting cards and the like.
Consider a separate money bucket for food, drinks and entertainment. This includes eating out, coffees, treats, parties, costumes and movie outings.
Once you have your budget, stick to it. The whole point is to spend only what you can afford to spend.
3. Consider what people actually need
It’s often the case that people don’t really need, or even want, new expensive gadgets in their lives. If you consider what each person really needs, you may uncover creative and inexpensive ways to fill their holidays with cheer.
Maybe you can surprise your nostalgic mother by transforming all your old childhood photos into a digital scrapbook, or give your achy partner a massage based on a technique you learned from YouTube.
4. Shop online
If you do end up with a few physical goods on your to-buy list, consider buying them online. Not only can you often find better deals, but you’re also less likely to incur unexpected or hidden expenses like petrol, parking, eating out, that special gift to yourself and all those pumpkin gingerbread lattes.
But online shops want your dough just as much as brick and mortar shops do, so make sure you don’t get sucked into all the online sales and marketing gimmicks. Make sure you shop around for the best deals and buy only what’s on your list.
5. Do a Secret Santa
Secret Santas aren’t just for the office and the school yard; they’re great for families too. So if you really want to save money this holiday season, and help others do the same, consider a great big Secret Santa.
Ask everyone to write down their name on a slip of paper, along with two or three items they need (or they can simply write “surprise me!”) and throw those into a hat. This way, everyone can save a little money and no one is left with a useless gift they’ll just toss later.
6. Go potluck
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to entertain guests at your home over Christmas or New Year’s. However, there’s no reason to splurge on all the food yourself. If you decide to throw a party, go ahead and cook a couple of your specialty dishes, but ask all your guests to bring something too.
7. Spend New Years in
You don’t need us to tell you how expensive it can be to pay for food, drinks and cover charges just to attend a fancy New Year’s party. Why not hang some mistletoe at home and have your party there?
You won’t have to put up with obnoxious strangers and you won’t have to stand on milk crates to see the fireworks on your big screen and most importantly food and drinks will be a fraction of the price.
Eat, save and be merry!
With some foresight and a little self-control, you can get through these holidays without burying yourself into a pile of debt you’d otherwise spend the next year digging yourself out of.
The information in this blog post is general in nature and does not constitute personal financial or professional advice. It is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual. We do not guarantee the accuracy and completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. Before making any decisions, it is important for you to consider your personal situation, make independent enquiries and seek appropriate tax, legal and other professional advice.
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