Today’s post is from personal finance writer and blogger Amy Nickson.
The Christmas season is a time for fun and frolic. Often the merry-making becomes too heavy on most of the people’s wallets. Thus, it is very important to find ways to keep expenses lower. There are ways to do things to reduce your expenses significantly and help you remain financially independent and not under the burden of holiday debt. Even if you have to sacrifice a few luxuries for this, you should go for it as your peace of mind and financial stability is more important than a number of luxury items you’re getting.
Here are a few tips which you can use during the holiday season to save money and have fun as well.
1. Create a budget
Create a budget to help manage your money during Christmas. Most people tend to indulge and end up shopping impulsively. Formulate a budget and shop accordingly. At first, decide what to buy and how much to spend on those items. This will help you stick to your budge. Creating a budget will help you to understand how much money you’ve spent during Christmas.
2. Choose gifts wisely
Christmas is a time when people typically buy presents for family and friends. Instead of doing this over a span of time, you can make a list of people and what gift you want to give them and shop for all of it together. Try to buy inexpensive Christmas gifts that are attractive too. This way, you can avoid buying things that are unnecessary. Also, you can watch for discount coupons and use these to get gifts at a lower price.
3. Shop household items in a smart way
During the holiday season, you may have friends or relatives coming over quite often and staying over for dinner or supper. Instead of rushing out every two or three days to stock up your supply of groceries, you can visit the store once a week and buy the regular items you need to cook in bulk. Bulk shopping entails you to discounts in most cases, and you can also save on time and transportation costs by reducing your visits to the store.
4. Prioritize the outdoor parties
Instead of going to expensive restaurants and parties you can plan your own outdoor parties to celebrate Christmas if your climate allows. You can arrange bonfire parties for friends and families as well. A good way to plan would be for everybody to contribute some amount of money and choose a place central to everyone and hold the party there.
5. Keep your eyes open for discounted items
During the Christmas season, retailers give people a lot of offers on different items. You should keep a lookout on these offers for thing you want to purchase. For instance, you can get Christmas decorations, trees, and lights at a lower price one or two days before Christmas as compared to what you would have spent if you had bought earlier. Keep these deals in mind while you shop.
6. Be creative to save money
Being creative also cuts out a lot of expenses. There are a number of innovative and creative things you can do during the holidays to lower your expenses. You can make your own Christmas cards by drawing on blank cards instead of buying them. You can also cut out old Christmas cards and use these to make new cards if you can’t draw. While wrapping presents during Christmas instead of using costly wrapping paper, you can use the comic section of newspapers which have colorfully illustrated pictures and would make quite attractive covers.
7. Avoid credit cards as much as possible
Shopping extravagantly with credit cards is the main reason people fall into a vicious cycle of credit card debt during Christmas. Ty to minimize your use of credit cards to avoid incurring holiday debt. Try to use cash as much as possible and not to use cards for each purchase.
8. Finish your shopping in advance
Christmas means lots of gifts, new dresses, cards, decoration items, and so on. If you want to shop right before Christmas, then you’ll likely spend more money. The ideal time for Christmas shopping is right after Halloween and Thanksgiving.
9. Research, research, and research
Try to research to become money wise during Christmas. If you want to invite your friends for dinner at a restaurant, then you can visit the restaurant’s website to find out if there are any discount and deals available. Make sure you know the menu they are offering. You may get the special buffet at a discount rate.
10. Plan in advance to grab the holiday specials
Planning in advance is very important when you’re trying to save money especially during festive season. Due to high seasonal demand, the cost of everything will likely increase. For instance, planning a vacation. Many people love to plan their vacation during the holiday season. If you’re one of them, then you should start planning early. Planning in advance gives you the opportunity to check holiday specials and group packages if available. You can search on the Internet to get information on holiday packages.
Do you always have to worry about money after Christmas is over? Do you have to give extra effort to pay off your credit card bills after the holiday season? If yes, then you can follow these tips to enjoy Christmas in a different way. There are also many little things that can help you to save money during the holiday season such as: making a list before visiting stores, buying an artificial Christmas for recycling purposes, and so on. Remember, it’s not mandatory to celebrate your Christmas in a pub, restaurants, etc; you can enjoy Christmas staying at your home and having fun with family as well.
Amy Nickson is a web enthusiast. She shares her expertise through her crisp and well-researched articles based on money management. She loves social media, as it gives her endless opportunities to reach out to a larger audience in a more unbiased way. You can also check out her blog Workingmomsword.