The holidays are a whirlwind of conflicting emotions – happy to have some time off work, sad to spend it cooped up inside because of the never-ending snowfall; optimistic about the new year, bummed about missed opportunities; excited to spend quality time with family, but more than anything, dreading the upcoming credit card bill.
This last issue is about the only thing we have any kind of solution for, but at least it’s a start.
Here are 3 Tips for Saving Money During the Holidays for a less puzzling (and more prudent) holiday season.
Apps With Ample Savings
You’ll have to spend some amount of money on gifts this year—it’s practically inevitable.
But for all of the money flowing out, you can make sure a portion of that is coming in (or staying in, as the case may be):
Rakuten – Receive up to 15% cashback via check or PayPal for shopping at any participating stores, including Kohl’s, Pet Smart, Nike, Target, and many
Honey – When you make an online purchase, Honey automatically applies any available coupons or discounts.
RetailMeNot – Similarly, their Deal Finder extension scopes out and applies existing deals and offers, including cashback (welcome home, Benjamins, I’ve missed you dearly).
Potluck Holiday Parties With Group Gift Exchanges
When you’re strapped for cash, holiday parties are a blast to attend, but a bit of a bummer to host.
If you’re not ready to give up your “Host With The Most” title but don’t have the means to go all-out like you usually do, invite your pals to a potluck party.
That way, you can take all of the credit while only doing some of the work—it’s the best of both worlds! For once, your friends supply the dinner (and, most importantly, dessert).
All you have to do is stock up on the essentials, like plates and cutlery, a few fun and festive beverages, and some type of (low-cost) activity to keep everyone entertained.
The perfect activity, you ask?
A White Elephant or Secret Santa Gift Exchange.
Now, you can take the pressure off your whole friend group to get each and every person a stellar present.
With a gift exchange, everyone’s only responsible for one stellar gift (so, yes, it does have to be extra stellar), which saves you all a little money and stress this year.
Black Friday & December Holiday Sales
Sales make it so much easier to get your friends and family the presents they deserve at a price that you deserve.
Scope out sales ahead of time so you can be ready when the limited-time offerings finally arrive. Here are a few fan favorites:
- Black Friday – Ah yes, the most hectic time of the year. It may be a nightmare to park and shop, but with screaming deals like OXO’s Black Friday coffee maker and nearly half-price offerings on flat-screen TVs, this day can still be a dream come true in terms of saving money (even if it takes 20 minutes and four laps to find parking).
- Twelve Days of Christmas – No turtle doves, calling birds, or maids-a-milking—just sales, sales, and more sales. For example, check out Alpaca Direct’s 12 Days of Christmas yarn sales for a special new product deal released on each of the twelve days.
- Free Shipping Day – On one day of the year, over 300 individual retailers put aside their differences to bring everyone a little holiday joy. That day is none other than December 14th, and it’s—drum roll, please—Free Shipping Day. Capitalize on this day for all your online purchases (which will likely be plentiful this year).
Happy Holidays, Happier Bank Accounts
Celebrating with loved ones shouldn’t require giving up your financial well-being.
If you’re at risk of overspending and under-saving this holiday season, then your usual lavish gifts and fancy feasts just aren’t worth it.
Scale it back this winter and you’ll thank yourself later.
And, consider using a budgeting app if you don’t think you can keep yourself in check with spending. After all, no gift is worth a bad credit score!
You can never go wrong with keeping things simple (and sensible!).