You can try to save, but the usual tricks just don’t work during the festivities. It’s not like you can stop spending. In fact, you’ll be spending more than ever as you fill the kids’ stockings and leave gifts under the tree. That’s why this guide won’t tell you to stop spending; it shows you how to spend effectively, so you can celebrate the holidays and protect your finances, too.
- Give homemade presents
People love receiving homemade gifts because they speak of the time and effort their loved ones spent while making them. It’s a win-win, really. While friends and family will be impressed with your skills, your bank account will be safe from any major withdrawals. You can find a lot of great ideas here that don’t cost a lot of money. They’re perfect for anyone on your list, from co-workers and neighbors to friends and family. It’s also a great way to spend time with your kids when you make it a wintertime family activity.
- Try out a Secret Santa
If you have a large circle of friends or family itching to exchange gifts together, the length of your list promises a very big bill. You can slash these costs in half (or more!) by suggesting the Secret Santa method. This is an affordable way to include extended family or a lot of friends in the gift-giving tradition, and you’ll only have to buy one present.
Even if you splurge on your designated person, a single present is a lot less expensive than buying 10, 15, or even 20 gifts for a large family. It’s also easy to do when you use one of these apps designed to help simplify organizing Secret Santa with a big group of people—some of whommay not live in the same town.
- Learn your limits
Part of responsible shopping relies on knowing how much you can spend before you put your finances at risk. A budget isa great tool for gauging the health of your finances, showing you what you can afford and what you can do to save more.
With a keen eye, you can spot patterns in your spending habits that limit what you can put towards things like the holidays. Common bad habits include buying takeout coffee instead of brewing your own or adding another subscription box to your list.
Yours may be different, but they all share the same trait: they waste your money. Cutting them out of your life can help you save money. For other pointers, you can check in with a resource like the GoDay blog. They update their space with new tips to help you save money pretty regularly, so you can always find another way to cut down on expenses.
- Rotate the gift giving duty
Large families have it hard. Let’s say you have four siblings, all of whom have partners and four kids of their own. That’s 20 people you have to cover before you start thinking about parents, aunts and uncle, or cousins.
The rotation device would shake things up a bit.
Rather than having to give a gift to each of these 20 people in your immediate family, you would only focus on one of your siblings and their family.Meanwhile, each of your siblings would do the same, making sure each family is covered without overlap.
You would shop for the five people in that single branch of your family tree—meaning your sibling, their partner, and their four kids. Your other siblings would do the same for another branch. This way everyone gets a present, and no one is overwhelmed by their shopping list.
- Download the right apps
Your phone can be the MVP of the season if you have the right apps. Some avid shoppers have put together their favorite money-saving apps, so you don’t have to waste time searching through Google Play or the App Store.
These apps range from those that help you find coupons, apps that share rebates, and apps that locate the retailer selling an item at the lowest price. You can use these to help lower the cost of gifts, groceries, and household items all year round. There’s no excuse for paying full price ever again now that you know to stock your phone with shopping apps.
Though unconventional, these tips are better suited for the season. While cutting out expenses is one way to rein in your budget at any other time of year, this basic tip isn’t right for the holidays. You have to be sneaky if you expect to spend without going over your budget this year.