As the holidays approach, many families find themselves tightening their belts to ensure they have adequate extra cash to support their holiday spending practices. Instead of pinching pennies at the last minute to finance your holidays, consider taking a more proactive approach to ensuring you have enough capital to support the type of holiday you hope to experience. By engaging in money-saving behaviors throughout the year, you can create a dedicated holiday fund gradually instead of having to so acutely deprive yourself right as the holidays arrive.
Though hardly a new practice, coupon clipping is a major money-saver. Through the use of coupons, you can buy the items you want and need while still keeping more cash in your pocket. Start pulling coupons out of your local paper or, if you’re tech savvy, search for them online and print them out. To really make your coupon usage payoff come holiday time, commit yourself to putting whatever money you save into an account reserved for this seasonal period of expenses. Because most store receipts tell you how much you saved, you can easily transfer this amount over to the savings account in question.
Master the Sales
Repeat after me: “If it’s not on sale, don’t buy it.” Learn it. Live by it. If you’re spending money on items that aren’t discounted, you’re wasting your cash. Practice some patience and wait for that item you have your eye on to go on sale. If you do, you will not only be able to buy it without shelling out as much money, but also you’ll likely experience a surge of pride at your money-saving success. And don’t just stop looking at the ads after you’ve bought that sought-after item. Keep your eyes on these sales circulars because, if it goes on even deeper sale, you can head back to the store, receipt in hand, to get a price adjustment to ensure you pay the lowest possible rate.
Why pay for something you can get for free? Instead of spending money renting movies on Friday night, visit your library and check out their selection of free DVDs available to any library card holder. Also, trade your expensive outings for lower-cost ones. For example, if going to the movies is eating up a lot of your hard-earned cash, visit free attractions such as museums and parks instead.
Do something good for Mother Earth and your pocketbook by committing yourself to going green. By swapping out some of your less eco-friendly practices for ones that are more ecologically sound, you can reduce your expenses. For example, if you make it a habit to always turn the light off when you leave the room, you will not only reduce your carbon footprint but also likely experience a dip in energy costs. By taking this money you save and setting it aside, you can make your holidays brighter.
The holidays aren’t all about spending money; however, to have the magical holiday you likely hope to experience shelling out some cash will be necessary. Instead of feeling the painful pinch right before the holiday in question, be a smart shopper and engage in money-saving behavior year-round to create a warm blanket of cash that you can use to finance your holidays.