Can you believe it? We only have one month left and then we’re wrapping up the year! My husband and I sat down to look over our plans. Besides having my mom come up for a few days, we’re also heading back to Virginia to see some of our family and friends.
The holiday season causes many of us to go on a gift-buying splurge, and while our generous hearts may feel good about giving, our wallets, well, they may be hurting.
If you’re looking to save some money this season, here are five suggestions on how to get you started.
With visits and trips to see loved ones, it can be easy to fall into the trap of grabbing convenient, fast food. Do yourself a huge favor and meal plan! It doesn’t have to be complicated and you can find simple guides online to help get you started.
You should think about what you’d like to eat over the week and choose to grab ingredients for easy and healthy meals. Traveling? Pack some tasty snacks that won’t cost you an arm and a leg at the airport. Your wallet and waistline will thank you.
Create Your Budget
I know, not the most exciting tip but what many of us forget is that a budget is simply a way to prioritize your money. If this month is going to be different because of travel, then your budget should reflect that.
By just sitting down and reviewing what you have planned, you can see how much money you have leftover. It’ll make things easier when the inevitable last-minute costs come up. Impulse spending without a budget can lead to stress and can get you into debt. If you’re just getting started with budgeting – or you’re ready to go to the next level – Mint can help you effortlessly manage your finances in one place.
Cut Corners and Costs
Sometimes it can be overwhelming to try and buy presents for everyone, especially if the gifts are expensive. There are ways, though, to still feel the holiday spirit with gift-giving like spending quality time with friends and family.
You should also find areas of your budget where you can cut corners. Need to buy new gifts for friends and family? Use newspaper wrappings or plain brown construction paper as your wrapping paper and draw on your own designs. Make the gifts personalized – no need to get fancy!
Schedule in Some Buffer
When we travel, we usually try to squeeze in visiting all our friends, but it can leave us exhausted and the kids cranky. It took us days to recuperate and sucked major money from our wallets to travel to so many places.
Now, we choose a location and ask people if they’re free to meet up there. Typically it’s someone’s house (with their permission of course!). If that’s not an option, choose a community park and have a picnic. This option decreases our stress levels and saves us money on driving from place to place.
Have Free and Frugal Activities to Suggest
We’ve found that many of our friends enjoy getting together without having to meet at a restaurant. Things can quickly add up if you have several friends and family to visit, especially if you all decide to go out to eat.
Suggesting something as simple as walking around the park or neighborhood can be a fantastic way to catch up without spending a ton of money. Take the lead on planning free activities and also have a few ideas in mind for when you see your family and friends.
Also remember, giving isn’t just about buying presents. If you want to show how much someone means to you, a phone call, visit, crafting something homemade, or hanging out for a special day can be an incredible gift.
Thoughts on Ways to Save
I’d love to hear from you. What are your plans for this season? How are you saving money while still having fun with loved ones?