The holidays can be a very stressful time! If you are already living on a budget, the idea of gift giving may seem impossible. And the list of people and parties can be daunting. But do not worry because we are here to help you out with some tips on how to save money during the holidays. By saving and spending wisely your wallet will be happier, but you won’t have to sacrifice on experiences.

Here are 7 ways to save money during the holidays.

Get A Head Start

The first step is to get a head start on the holiday season. We mean a BIG head start. Purchase festive decor when it goes on clearance after the holidays. The same goes for clothing, wrapping paper, presents. Everything! There are always after season sales to take advantage of in early January. The earlier you start preparing, the earlier you will finish, and the more money you can save.

This strategy will help you avoid the hectic lines and last minute gifts that can not only be expensive, but very stressful. Making sure that you give yourself ample time to get all of your preparations out of the way will ensure you will have less on your plate, all while giving yourself more time to mull over what to give everyone. Budgeting your time can save you money in the long run.

Make A Gift Budget

““Come up with a budget for what you want to spend and give yourself ample time to pay for it so it’s not all shock.”

Andrew Denney, founder and CEO of Springfield

Many people start off wondering who they should buy for. First, you should really be asking yourself, how much money do you have to work with. Then you can assign an amount to each person on your list. Budgeting out your holiday spending can be really helpful to ensure that you don’t overspend. Once you figure out how much money you have and are willing to spend during the holidays, start distributing money to different areas. This way you won’t over spend money unnecessarily. With a budget you know where your money is going.

Make A List Of People & Gifts

Once you know how much you have to spend, it is a good time to make a list of people to buy for. Group gifts, potlucks, and e-cards can be helpful when you are running on a tight budget. Also keep in mind ideas like secret Santa and name drawing for big families. These ideas can help you narrow down your list so you don’t have so many people to buy for.

As you build your list of people, also note down the gifts you are planning on purchasing for them. And that does not mean that you have to break your bank account. There are so many affordable options these days. Even an extra phone charger (some as cheap as $10.00) in someone’s favorite color makes for a practical, and thoughtful gift. 

“If you go with a list and know what you have to buy, it’s proven time after time that you’ll spend less than people who go haphazardly spending,” says Denney

Track Your Spending

Save money during the holidays by tracking your spending. Once you have everything planned out, now is the time to shop. It is important to track your spending as you go, to ensure that you don’t go over budget. To track successfully you can use a banking app or even a spreadsheet. Tracking in real time can be a lot more helpful than keeping receipts and looking at the prices later.

It is always important to know when to stop to make sure you don’t go overboard. Cutting back on the extras and keeping to your list will help you stay on track. Keeping your holiday money separate and building it all yearlong can ensure that you have the funds when the time comes. This stops you from charging your holiday spending to credit cards. That way you don’t have any accruing interest when it comes time to pay off the bills.

Personal Value Over Glamour

Keep in mind the reason for the season. It’s not all about the shiny expensive gifts, but about spending time with the people you care about. A kind word or gesture can mean a lot, and truly the thought behind the gift is what matters. Thinking this way may inspire you to try D.I.Y. gifts. Putting in your time and energy shows that you really care, but won’t break the bank.

Start Early

We know the holidays are a long way away now, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t start saving now. Try and cut back your spendings on unnecessary things to save up for the holidays. Even the smallest change like eating at home more or ordering water instead of soda can make a big difference in the long run. Whatever money you save, put it towards your holiday fund.

Minimalistic Decorations

One of the easiest ways to save some money during the holiday season is through decorations. Yes, yes we know that decorating is one of the best parts of the holidays and we all look forward to it. However, it is also one of the easiest ways to shell out money and going overboard. So this year, try and keep your decorations minimal. Maybe decorate only a few sections of your house instead of going all out. Choose your favorite spots and make them festive. You can also reuse and recycle old decorations to create something new. Or better yet, DIY your own decorations! The possibilities are endless, so put your creative mind to use and find some new decorating ideas.

It is just too easy to get caught up in overspending around the holidays, but if you make a plan and stick with it, you will find yourself a lot better off financially. Now that you know some easy ways to save for the holidays, you are ready for the holiday season and so is your wallet.

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