Just a few days back I posted 101 frugal Christmas gift ideas. This is another post to touch upon the subject of saving money during a period when your pockets would be stretched the most. Over the years I have learned that keeping little money aside every month works wonder when if comes to year end festivities. For those of you who are still trying to keep expenses under control, this post is for you.
This holiday season you’ll find that your bank account is going to be stretched more than at any other point this year. With the build up to Christmas in particular, there are many things that you are going to need to buy, not least presents for loved ones and beverages for any guests. But, contrary to belief, the holiday season does not have to break your bank. In fact, 2013 could be the cheapest Christmas you have had in a long time.
Here’s some money-saving tips:
This goes without saying, but before you rush out to buy presents and food, you must budget yourself, otherwise you’re simply going to end up spending more than you can afford. Whilst your bank overdraft may seem tempting it just isn’t worth going in to because you’ll only have less money to play with next month.
The best way to budget is to shop around and to make a list of everything you need. Budgeting also goes hand in hand with our next hot tip.
There are lots of websites online which specialise in the latest voucher codes and discount codes. With the build up to Christmas both offline and online retailers launch new voucher codes to help drive customers through their doors. You should always take advantage of these, and especially so if any products in your budget list can be had at a discount.
10% off, 5% off and buy one get one free vouchers often represent fantastic value for money. If you’re strapped for cash these could help you save money with less financial stress.
If you have any loved ones abroad, such as in Australia or the US, shipping presents to them can be a pain. As such, a better present to give is simply travel money, which can be put to good use by your loved one. Travel money, just like any regular present, can come at many different prices – these are based on exchange rates.
(Related – Getting financially ready for vacation travel)
For the best exchange rates shop around currency stores; there are plenty of online merchants that can help.
Cut out the fluff
Big plastic Santa’s in the garden, impressive lights scattered across the home, a tree that must be bigger than the neighbours; Christmas is a time for good joy and cheer, yet many make it a competitive sport. Don’t get sucked in to spending more on decorations than you have to and just concentrate on what’s important this holiday season which is your family.
Re-gift and Reuse
Before you allocate money for gifts, take a stock of last year’s left overs and gifts you received. You can re-purpose those unused items this year. For example, last year in a gift swap we won a beautiful table clock, which has no use at our home, we can gift this away this year.
Lastly, most of us save money year-long to enjoy these days to the fullest. We throw parties, we invite people, we light our homes, we buy gifts for loved ones and we create memories for our families, during the holiday season.
Our kids wait all year for a Thanks giving or a Christmas to arrive. I don’t think we need to be any extra frugal during holiday season. All I am asking you is to watch out and don’t simply let the money drain.
How are you saving money this season, readers?