More than 174 million Americans have already spent an average of $335.47 each of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” What does your own holiday spending bill look like so far?
Use these 4 simple ideas to help cut down on your expenses this time of year, and keep the rest of your holiday spending looking more nice than naughty.
1. Decide beforehand how much you’re going to spend on gifts. Yes, I’m talking about the B-word: Budget. This time of year it’s especially important to exercise discipline with purchases. Have a firm plan about what you’re able to spend before you start tackling your shopping, so you can avoid the “holiday hangover” when your January credit card bill arrives. Firm! Set in Stone. No compromising.
TIP: Use the cash system for your holiday spending. It's easy to get carried away and swipe the credit card when Christmas music is serenading you.
2. Make a List and Check it Twice You're not Santa. If your shopping list includes presents for more than five to ten people outside of your immediate family/friend circle, cut them out. For those who didn't make the cut, bake some treats. This will ensure you spread the holiday cheer without overspending.
TIP: If you’re crafty, there are tons of ideas online for budget-friendly, thoughtful gifts. If you’re not crafty, check out your local dollar store (lately they’ve been really upping their game).
3. Stop mailing Holiday Cards. This practice is standard for some, but with digital age there is really no reason to pay for print and postage when you can email holiday cards at no cost. As beautiful as your family is, they will likely be going in a keepsake box or the trash, soon after the holidays. But, if Holiday Cards are your jam, try printing and hand delivering versus mailing to cut out some of the cost.
4. Dine in. When you’ve budgeted for picking up the tab for a celebratory family meal at your favorite restaurant, it can be a great gift that brings everyone together – literally. But if you haven’t financially prepared for a big night out with the whole extended crew, the final cost of the festivities can really sneak up on you. Say you venture out with a party of 10. At even just $10 an entree, if you add in appetizers, desserts, cups of cocoa for the kids, eggnog (or something a little more “grown up” for the adults), and any other extras… Whew, that’s going to be a credit card statement to remember! But what if you planned a night in with the family instead? The whole point is just being together, right? Have a potluck or pizza night.
Saving doesn’t have to mean sacrificing holiday spirit!