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Holiday gifts and family activities add up during the holiday months. I have a list for The Best Ways to Save Money for the Holidays.
Reviewing your budget before cutting costs encourages better spending. 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 those you love.
Before we get started, let me remind you to sign up for my free Monthly Household Budget pdf.
Cut Down on Eating Out
People do not 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 or more 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.
Save on Grocery Shopping
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 or at home.
You can find healthy foods in the frozen or fresh section of your grocery store.
Instant 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, routine vehicle maintenance, or a birthday gift, visit Groupon for rebates in your area. The instructions are simple, and you get some great deals.
Buying Coffee, Drinks & Snacks
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. Purchasing a coffee on my way to work every morning became a habit.
I kept thinking to myself, I’d be making up the money by taking my lunch so I could afford the coffee and snacks.
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. If you can’t stop drinking coffee, then maybe try taking baby steps and start with one to two days a week.
Before you realize it, you will see a big change in your spending and your habits.
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Cut the Cost of Cable
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 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 Philo, 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 for the holidays.
Mention picking names at work or set a spending limit. Consider starting a carpool contact sheet at work. Find out if there are others in your area that would like to carpool to work.
Use 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.
Setup a Holiday Account
An easy way to save money for the holidays is by starting a holiday fund at your bank or credit union.
Start an allotment to the holiday fund right from your direct deposit or checking account. 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. The idea here is if you don’t have it, you don’t spend it.
Have fun over the holidays, but do it by only spending what you can afford. Make gifts with your children, go to crafts fairs, buy kits that you can make at home, or bake pumpkin bread and muffins with pre-mix boxes in the baking aisle at the grocery store.
There are many ways to enjoy the holidays without exceeding your budget.