How To Save During The Holidays
The holiday season can be a magical time. It can be a time of gathering and a chance to witness generosity and kindness daily, as strangers help strangers. But with this beauty comes the beast of a heavy financial obligation. Here are some great ways to become a little more frugal this holiday season and actually save during the holidays.
The biggest gift that you can give yourself is to start planning for the holiday season well ahead of time. Begin by considering all of your upcoming purchases and responsibilities. What parties do you (safely) expect to be attending or hosting? How many people do you plan to buy gifts for? Think about what kind of decorations, food, and other supplies you may need for gatherings and how many people you’ll be expected to serve (whether at your house or someone else’s).
Make a list that you can have handy while at the store or online. If you happen to be at a store where you find candles on clearance, check the list and make your purchase. If flour is on sale and you know you’ll be baking a lot, buy three. As soon as you see items go on sale, buy that item and stock up early. Planning ahead will allow you to create a holiday budget and not force you to break the bank over a matter of two weeks.
Shopping online can help you save during the holidays for a few reasons. First of all, it is a lot easier to compare prices while sitting in front of your computer. Most stores offer free shipping over a certain amount (typically somewhere between $35-$49), so you should be able to purchase a few items and have them delivered to your home with no issue. This is also a great time to sign up for Amazon Prime if you’ve been waiting. You may want to read more about whether Amazon Prime is worth it before you do.
The second reason that online shopping will save you money is that it often prevents impulse purchases. We all know that when we walk into a store, we purchase the one thing we went in to get as well as four other things that we didn’t plan on.
Third, online shopping is no longer only for toys and gifts. Many local grocery stores have created “groceries to go” type services that allow you to order, use coupons, and pay online, while someone else does your shopping for you. We also have services like Instacart, Walmart Pickup and Whole Foods through Amazon. Taking advantage of this kind of service will make sure that you stick strictly to your list – not to mention the convenience.
Shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales
When shopping for gifts, toys and décor, you will want to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. While these “special days” used to take place on these exact two days (the Friday after Thanksgiving and the Monday after Thanksgiving), many stores are extending their sales to start on the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving, if not earlier.
You will find excellent sales on items that you may not have thought of, so be sure to browse the offerings throughout that week or as you get email notifications from your favorite stores. You may also want to read more about how to best shop Amazon this holiday season to get yourself ready for those quick discounts.
It is important to set limits on your holiday spending. It is incredibly easy to overdo it during the holidays, and keeping yourself and your budget in check is vital. You don’t want to get to January and realize that you’ve spent half of your rent or car payment.
A smaller amount of money can truly stretch further than you think, so as you are planning your gatherings, remember that not every cute Pinterest idea you come across must happen this season. Attempting a little self-control is always a good thing – and this is the perfect time to practice.
Have a White Elephant Party or Draw Names
The more the merrier – except for when it comes to purchasing gifts. One solution to spending less is suggesting that you draw names or have a white elephant party. Coordinating things this way will allow everyone to purchase one gift instead of dozens. You are not the only one in this predicament and some of your family and friends will probably appreciate this setup as well. After all, the most important part of the holidays is being together, not the gifts.
Consider organizing things such that everyone buys for the children and only one gift is purchased for the adults (draw names so that everyone gets chosen by another person or bring one universal gift and roll the dice). Set a price limit on those items (i.e. everyone spends only $25) and enjoy your time together.
Celebrate on Different Days
Who said that you can only celebrate holidays on the exact date of a holiday? Plan your gatherings a few days or a week after the holiday instead! Deep discounts on party supplies, décor, holiday snacks, toys, and other gift options begin the day after most holidays, and sometimes even on the holiday itself. Retailers do not want to hold onto their stock until next year, so take advantage of the after-holiday sales for items on your list and do some of your shopping after the fact.
Learning how to save during the holidays can help you to finally take a deep breath. Holidays really don’t need to be overly financially frustrating. Remember that you have no one to impress but yourself. The holidays are about being with friends, family and loved ones, so try to refocus in that direction. Try to take the expectations and frustrations out of each event and enjoy the holiday season with your family.