The holidays can put a strain on anyone’s wallet. But, there are some ways we can prepare now so that they don’t hit us so hard later.
Today we’re going to talk about 10 ways you can prepare for the holidays now, financially.
10 Things You Can Do To Prepare NOW Financially for The Holidays So You Don’t Feel The Pinch At The End Of The Year
Have you thought about how you can prepare now financially for the holidays, no matter how close or far off they are?
People often talk about how suffocating the holidays can be financially at the end of the year. It’s the time of the year when you’re looking back at all the holiday events you booked and the get-togethers you spent with family and friends last Christmas and New Year and you’re wondering whether you can bear the months of eating Ramen so you can pay for all the expenses you incurred only to turn around and do it all again.
These 10 Ways To Prepare NOW Financially For The Holidays will help!
Holidays cost money, many times much more money than we can actually afford. But, it’s never a good idea to get into serious debt for any holiday.
Don’t let yourself get too down in the dumps about it, though, because there are ways of keeping yourself from feeling the holiday pinch at the end of the year!
1. Set Your Own Rules
You don’t have to do the things that other people are doing during the holidays. Change things up and focus on having memorable, enjoyable experiences rather than giving extravagant gifts.
Your goal is to thrive and be happy during the holidays, to make memories and enjoy the people you love. The goal is not to see how much debt you can get in year after year buying gifts you really can’t afford.
A few months before the holidays, create your own gift list. Decide how much you want and can spend on each person. Or keep a list of what you would like to purchase for each person on your list and throughout the year as you run across these things and they are a good deal and you have the finances to do it, then do it. Remember Mom having presents hiding away in a closet all year? That’s how she did it… if it worked for Mom… 🙂
- If you have children, you should prioritize them first.
- When you have an extended family, instead of giving them gifts one by one, suggest a Secret Santa instead.
- If you don’t have a lot to spend on gifts, give the gift of time. Take your parents out to dinner or spend time watching a movie at home with them You know they really only want to spend time with you, right? They don’t really want anything but you). Babysit your nieces and nephews so your siblings can have a night out without having to pay for a sitter.
2. Open A Holiday Savings Account
It’s easier to save up for your holiday budget by setting up a separate savings account.
Open a second savings account with your bank or if they allow you, you can create a sub-savings account on your online banking for your holiday purchases.
Creating a separate savings account allows you to automate your savings contributions, so, it’s easier for you to meet your holiday budget.
Capital One 360 has a free online account. No fees, at all, and you can set it up online in minutes and have a card sent to you in a few days.
3. Place A Hold On Luxury Spending
Do you really need to buy that new bag or pair of shoes?
Is it necessary to grab a coffee from Starbucks? Maybe cut back once or twice a week and put your coffee money in your new account. I, personally, buy Starbucks bagged coffee for home and they come with Starbucks Rewards that add up to money I can have on my Starbucks card and spend for coffees at the store.
Look at the discretionary expenses in your budget. Shift those funds to your holiday budget instead. Again, you’ll be happy when the time comes that you took the time to prepare now financially for the holidays.
You can cut down the money you’re spending on dining out, entertainment, clothing, and other extras. You can save a few hundred to thousands of dollars and you’ll be surprised at the money you’ll have in time for the holidays.
4. Fly Strategically
Are you flying home for the holidays?
Instead of booking your flights on the weekends, book your flights on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday!
According to FareCompare, these days are the cheapest days to fly.
You should also consider flying late night or very early in the morning. Since most travelers don’t want to fly past their bedtime or at the crack of dawn, flights during these times are cheaper than those during normal business hours. Just keep in mind as you plan these things, that at the end of the year it will be worth it when you’re not stressed about the cost because you took the time to prepare now financially for the holidays.
5. Host Potlucks
Hosting a holiday dinner can put a hole to your pocket. It can add up quickly on your grocery bill. Keep the food costs low by encouraging your friends to have a holiday potluck dinner.
Ask your family members or friends to bring their favorite dishes, desserts, pastries, and drinks. You can also have a themed dinner party and prepare food and drinks that best fit your theme.
You Might Also Like: 7 Ideas For Hosting A Theme Party! PLUS Free Printable Party Planner List!
By hosting a holiday potluck, you are not only saving more money, but, you’re also encouraging your loved ones to share what they love.
You might also like: How To Recover Financially From The Holidays!
6. Use Your Credit Card Rewards
Review the rewards from your credit card and store rewards. You can pay for your gifts by using your points or redeem your points for gift cards and other merchandise.
If you have a credit card with grocery rewards, you can use it to buy gift cards at the grocery store.
You can also consider getting a balance transfer credit card with a zero percent introductory APR in January, if you have a good credit. You can pay your debt with zero interest for a period of time.
7. Organize A Exchange Gift Event
When you buy something for everyone you know, you’ll easily overspend! Buying for everyone spreads your resources thin and your credit card debt thick.
Instead of giving gifts to everyone, arrange a exchange gift event with your family and friends. Draw a name out of a box and buy a gift for that person.
Organizing a gift exchange event allows you to give a more thoughtful gift for that person. It also reduces the amount you spend on gifts. Plus, it’s exciting to wait for your own gift from your own Secret Santa!
8. Shop Online
Before you go to the mall to purchase your gifts, check out online shops first.
Look at the prices online and see if making an online purchase can save you more time and money.
A lot of online stores have free shipping and provide online-only discounts. It also lets you save money on gas and time spent driving to and from the store.
9. Buy Early
Set a goal to finish shopping at least two to three weeks before the holidays arrive.
Wrapping your gifts as soon as you buy them limits you from being tempted to add a little extra after.
Shopping earlier keeps your spending under control. It also makes your holidays more relaxing and enjoyable too.
10. Start A Side Gig
If you’re strapped for cash, try and start a side gig to earn extra cash.
You can help people tidy up their homes before the holidays. Market your service helping people to get organized. You can also offer to babysit for parents while they shop. You can also help busy parents who don’t have time to shop and run errands for them. It’s not hard to think a little outside the box to help you prepare now financially for the holidays. You’ll be happy you did!
You might also like: 12 Ways To Make Extra Money On The Side!
The holidays are the most wonderful, yet, the most expensive time of the year. Making some simple, but, important changes to your habits will ensure that you can enjoy your Christmas and New Year without feeling the holiday pinch at the end of the year.
What are your tips to prepare financially for the holidays?