Most people are cutting back this year, and with good reason. Still, that doesn’t mean the temptation to spend more than you should will disappear.
‘Tis the season to spend, which means it’s time to find new ways to save money during the holidays, especially during the pandemic. Trim the tree while also trimming costs with these helpful tips from Discover.
Avoid Unnecessary Spending
You’re probably tired of hearing the trope about cutting out specialty coffee trips to save money. But this tired cliche has some truth to it. Not only that, but taking a break from daily lattes or going out to eat is the responsible thing to do during the pandemic.
These changes are small, but they add up fast. When you calculate how much you spend per month at your favorite cafe or restaurant, you might be surprised. However, if you don’t want to go cold turkey, you may consider halving your spending instead. This way, you can enjoy your treat but still save a little money.
Consider opening a separate savings account before the holidays get into full swing. Over the next few weeks, deposit the money you would typically spend on lattes and lunch in this account. When 2021 rolls around, you’ll have some extra cash, and you can see how much your discretionary purchases add up.
Instead of using your own money for these things, you could redeem your points or cash back from your rewards credit card. This way, you can have your cake and eat it too — without straining your budget.
Consider Using Cash
Cash might be king, but credit cards are catching up. Think about it: When was the last time you used cash to pay for something?
While credit cards are convenient and offer many benefits, they can tempt you into overspending. For those who struggle to track their spending, this could cause more financial stress during the holidays.
Discover recommends using cash this season. That’s because it’s easier to stay on top of your spending, which can help you save. You could try the envelope method to limit your spending to the amount inside the envelope. Although this tactic can be difficult to stick to, it is guaranteed to help you save money when you do.
Create A Shopping List And Stick With It
A shopping list (and a strategy to go along with it) is key to saving money this season. Think about the last time you went to the supermarket without your grocery list. You probably spent more than you intended and forgot some of the things you needed the most. Your holiday shopping list works the same way.
Whether you go to the store to knock out your gift list, pick up decorations, or buy ingredients for your holiday meal, make sure you prepare ahead of time. Retailers have many tricks to lure your hard-earned money out of your wallet, so don’t fall for them. Having a list ensures that you get everything you need and minimizes the temptation to buy things you don’t.
Show You Care With Thoughtful Homemade Gifts
During previous holidays, you may have shelled out big bucks on an expensive bottle of wine to give to your best friend at her holiday party. But things are different this year. Many people are struggling financially because of the pandemic, so, understandably, some will be cutting back their spending on presents.
There are many ways to show you care without buying a gift. Use your skills to make or do something unique for your friends and family. For example, if you like baking, hit up the dollar store for cheap holiday packaging and gift your tastiest treats. Or, if you have an artistic side, draw caricatures, make jewelry, or try your hand at ornaments. Homemade gifts are one of the most thoughtful things you could give and one of the best ways to save money.
If you have a hard time tracking your spending or don’t know the first thing about making a budget, technology can help. There are many only apps, platforms, and tools that you can use to save more money this holiday season.
For example, if you use an app called Acorns and link your bank details, the app will round up your change every time you make a purchase and deposit the extra into your Acorns account. You can also use other apps like Mint, which notify you when you go over your budget in a particular category.
If you want to save on your holiday purchases and have a rewards credit card, consider taking care of your shopping through the card issuer’s online portal. Most companies give you more value when you redeem your rewards this way, which means more money in your pocket at the end of the year.
- Woods, Joslin. “6 Tips to Save Money During the Holidays: Discover.” Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog, Discover Bank, 5 Aug. 2020, www.discover.com/online-banking/banking-topics/6-tips-to-save-money-during-the-holidays/.