It’s no secret the holiday season makes big money for retailers and their marketing push to consumers can leave wallets feeling a lot lighter. In anticipation of higher-than-average spending over the next few months, do yourself and your budget a favor in advance with these money-saving techniques.
Skip extra outings.
One of the simplest ways to save is to reduce spending on dining and entertainment. When evaluating wants vs. needs, these extra expenses are often the first to get cut. Rightly so, because ten or twenty dollars may not seem like much to spend here and there, but it can easily take a toll on your bank account when done regularly. Ahead of the holiday season, take on the challenge to eat out only once a week or avoid it altogether. Who knows, it may even turn into a habit that benefits your monthly budget for years to come!
Pay with cash.
Commit to paying with cash instead of swiping a debit or credit card. The act of pulling cash out of a wallet, counting it, handing it over, and watching it deplete can bring much more awareness than swiping can to how quickly you can spend money. Opting to only pay with cash at restaurants, grocery stores, and even gas stations is an easy way to enforce a spending limit. When the paper dollars are gone, it’s a clear sign the maximum limit has been met. At that point, spending above and beyond will be a conscious effort that may encourage you to rethink a purchase entirely.
Shop your home.
Buying new tends to be the norm, but forgotten treasures hidden throughout your home could be revived or repurposed to help your budget. Sort through clothing that has been stashed away to find an outfit before buying something new. Refinish that old end table instead of throwing it out for a new one. This same mindset applies to food. We all seem to forget about the stock of food at home, but before venturing to the grocery store, thoroughly dig through the pantry and freezer to see what can be used to cook up a tasty meal. Taking full advantage of what is already in the house can lead to major cost savings and an overall positive change in spending habits.
Juggling multiple debts can be discouraging for those working hard to save. The good news is there are other options that may provide added financial freedom such as a more manageable interest rate. Explore the benefits of applying for a personal loan or credit card that is eligible for balance transfers. You may be able to lock in a better rate to help save money on interest by consolidating outstanding balances into one payment, and ultimately pay down debts faster.
Make holiday shopping lists early.
Last minute shopping can lead to overspending and sabotage your budget. Planning ahead and mapping out holiday purchases is a great way to keep spending on track. of whom and what you anticipate shopping for, as well as the spending thresholds for each individual or event. When these potential expenses are laid out in advance, it will be easier to pass up any impulse buys.
The final few months of the year can take a toll on bank accounts and budgets, but only when spenders let them. Finish the year strong by carefully managing your budget and practicing these money-saving habits. The extra effort you put forth now can set you up for a great start in the New Year!