10 Tips To Financially Prepare For The Holidays
The holidays might be the most wonderful time of the year, but they’re also the most expensive! You have shopping, travel, higher utility bills, holiday parties, and many other additional expenses to worry about during the winter. And since many people have experienced the coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact, this winter may be particularly difficult.
However, with these tips from US News My Money, you can prepare your finances for the holidays and hopefully spend more time feeling merry and bright than stressed and depressed.
Pad Your Income
Retailers left and right typically need all hands on deck during the holiday season. If you’re worried about making sure your expenses are covered this year, consider applying for a seasonal position. Not only will you have some extra money coming in, but you can take advantage of your employee discount during this time as well.
If retail isn’t your thing, you may prefer nannying, driving for Lyft or Uber, shoveling snow, or petsitting.
Redeem Your Rewards
Have you been saving your cash back rewards for a rainy day? The holidays might be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Depending on your card provider and rewards program, these points can go a long way to helping you stay within your budget this year.
Sell Your Belongings
Everyone has their fair share of belongings that they could do without. If there’s a particular item you’ve forgotten about, haven’t used in a year, or are keeping but don’t know why, then consider selling it.
Selling your stuff is one of the easiest ways to make a little more income during the holidays. Plus, it can help you clear some space and de-clutter your home. There are tons of platforms to post your stuff, from Facebook Marketplace to eBay to Craigslist.
Never Miss A Deal
One way to keep your holiday shopping list from breaking the bank is making sure you purchase at the right time, which you can do by signing up to your favorite retailers’ email list. Newsletters and promotions might be annoying, but it’s just for a few short months, and it can let you know when something on your gift list goes on sale. Afterward, you can unsubscribe to avoid the temptation.
Create A Budget
Making a budget should be at the top of this list. It can help you avoid swiping your credit card and unintentionally overspending. Creating a budget keeps you mindful about your spending so you can spend more time enjoying the season and less time stressing about finances.
Talk To Your Loved Ones About Gifts
If you’re struggling financially this year, don’t worry about the added pressure of gift-giving. Instead, talk to your family and friends about it — they’ll be more than understanding, especially this year.
However, if you can’t pass up an opportunity to give gifts, consider a more creative approach. Everyone loves homemade, personalized presents because they show just how much you care. No one will be mad that you didn’t get them the latest gadget or shoes; if they are, maybe that’s not the kind of person you want in your life, anyway.
Get Crafty With Seasonal Decor
Seasonal decorations go hand-in-hand with the holidays. But that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank trying to make your home look magazine-perfect. Instead, consider shopping at the dollar store for affordable decor, or get in touch with nature and create something with pinecones, acorns, leaves, and other objects.
Hold Back On Dining Out
During the pandemic, restaurants, cafes, and many other businesses may have limited seating or be closed altogether. This can narrow your dining options, but you should consider eating more at home anyway. Instead of stopping at the specialty coffee shop for your daily cappuccino, make your beverage at home. It’s only for a few months, and you may find that you like your drink better, anyway!
Save On Holiday Travel
Domestic flights may be more affordable right now, but you can trim those costs down even more by booking as early as possible. Early November, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays are when most airlines offer the best prices, so opt for these days if possible.
Be Aware Of Fraudulent Charges
Unfortunately, the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for identity thieves. That’s because consumer spending reaches its peak during this period. So, make sure you protect your information and your finances by checking your monthly statements from your credit card company and bank. Also, see if your credit card company offers free fraud alerts and sign up for them if you haven’t already.
- Palmer, Kimberly. “10 Creative Ways to Cut Costs This Winter.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 4 Nov. 2020, money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/10-creative-ways-to-cut-costs-this-winter.
- Snider, Susannah. “Prepare Your Finances for the Holidays.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 28 Nov. 2016, money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/prepare-your-finances-for-the-holidays.