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Holiday gifts and family activities add up during holiday months; therefore, I have listed some of The Best Ways to Save Money for the Holidays. Reviewing your budget before cutting costs encourages better spending in areas that you may have exceeded in previous months. A budget review will give you an idea of where spending cuts can be made. Budgeting doesn’t have to be hard; it can also be rewarding when you come out on the other end with a few dollars for yourself or gifts for those you love during the holidays.
People don’t often realize how expensive eating out can be until mid to end of the week rolls around and you know that most of your funds are gone. A combo meal isn’t $3.99 anymore; they turn into $8, $9, 10 dollars if you upsize and add anything additional to your order. If you eat out at a nice restaurant, your bill can get as high as $20 for one person. Eating out regularly can add up quick.
Think about making a list of items you can purchase at the grocery store that can last you all week. Purchase deli meat instead of eating out at a sub shop, make a soup that you can eat a few times that week, chicken and rice, steamed vegetables, a frozen meal that can be warmed at work. There are many meals that you can make at home or buy frozen that you can heat for a decent at home or work meal. Insta pots and crock pots make cooking easy. I use my crock pot, for chicken, roast, and stew. It does the work for me, and all I have to do is warm any sides I might want.
While the idea of saving money on eating out is fresh in your mind you might want to write down a grocery list and stick to it or order groceries online, so you’re not tempted to buy what you don’t need. I started to schedule pickups for my groceries. It helps me to avoid temptation shopping, especially at the larger chains. I only purchase what we need, and I save time out of my week. I used to spend two to three hours at the grocery store. Now I drive over pick up my items and drive home to unload them. It’s very simple.
Coupons & Coupon Codes
When you are trying to save money for the holidays or just trying to cut back on expenses, don’t be embarrassed to use the coupons that come in the mail or online. Restaurants often have coupons for a buy one get one free meal. Look for coupon codes and use them while shopping online. They can save you shipping costs and offer discounts. If you are in the need of a haircut, trying to plan a day out, or if you need routine maintenance like an oil change visit Groupon for rebates in your area. The instructions are simple, and you get some great deals.
Coffee & Drinks
If you are like me one of the quickest ways to save money for the holidays is to cut down on specialty coffees and drinks. I am guilty of buying coffee out, who doesn’t want a specialty coffee once in a while. Purchase a coffee on my way to work every morning became habit. I thought to myself I’m taking my lunch every day I can afford to purchase coffee and maybe a snack. Those coffees and breakfast snacks would run me anywhere from $3 to $8 every morning depending on what I’d buy to eat. I was spending anywhere from $15 to $40 a week.
If you choose to stop for coffee in the mornings, ask if the place you visit offers a rewards program. Another option is to invest in a coffee machine or Keurig and take your coffee from home. I’ve grown to like specific brands of Keurig cups, and I have my favorite flavored coffee mates. Even if you can’t cut cold turkey start with taking your own two days a week and you might surprise yourself by cutting down less and less.
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Another way to save money for the holidays is shutting off cable or suspending it for a few months to reduce your monthly expenses. Instead, use Netflix stream starting at $8.99 a month or visit a Redbox location where you can rent a movie for the night. There are many ways to stream and watch movies now for far less price than cable. Other options are Hulu and Amazon Prime.
When you can, join in with other co-workers to buy holiday gifts for management. Try not to spend excessive amounts on bosses and co-workers that you acknowledge for the holidays. Mention picking names or set a spending limit. And think about starting a carpool contact sheet at work. Find out if there are others in your area that would like to carpool to work. You save gas, and you will be apt to taking your lunch to work instead of eating out.
Layaway & Payment Plans
Labor Day and Veterans Day specials are as early as September. Buying small gifts earlier in the year can help you achieve discounted prices and exclusive deals. Look into layaway and payment plans for more substantial gifts. Some chains offer layaway during the fall months for holiday purchases. Online shopping like QVC and HSN provide easy payment plans. You can buy now and have your gifts paid off by the holidays or shortly after. But, remember when you are making payments it’s easy to get carried away so check your budget and only buy what you know you can afford.
An easy way to save money for the holidays is by starting a holiday fund at your bank or credit union. You can apply an allotment to the holiday fund right from your direct deposit or checking account. I used a holiday fund for years. Not seeing the funds taken out of your bank account or direct deposit makes it easy not to spend money you don’t have. I would just cut back on other expenses to accommodate for the deduction taken. If you don’t have it, you don’t spend it.
The idea is to have fun over the holidays. If you cannot afford expensive gifts, I’m sure that your family will understand. Make gifts with your children, go to crafts fairs, buy kits that you can make at home, or bake pumpkin bread and muffins with the boxes in the baking aisle at the grocery store. There are many ways to enjoy the holidays without exceeding your budget.