The holidays are upon us. While many look forward to the comradery, the togetherness, and the meaning of the season once fall melts into winter, there is no denying that the end-of-the-year- holidays are a horrendously expensive season for a lot of families. The average amount that most Americans across all age groups expect to spend is about $819, while Millennials expect to spend at least $861 on gifts alone. If you consider the extra costs of the holiday season, that’s a huge chunk of money that people are about to dole out. As people prepare to open their wallets, many of these purchases will be made on high interest credit cards. This is the season where people tend to blow their budgets and set themselves up for a hard financial situation as they proceed into the new year. Fortunately, if your goal is saving money, you can avoid all that with a little bit of clever planning and some self control. Here are 8 money saving tips that Factum Financial suggests you apply to your holiday spending:
1. Create A Budget And Stick With It
A holiday budget is absolutely essential to your survival through the spending season. You need to create a budget for your whole holiday season, keeping in mind all of the expenses you will have while focusing on saving money. Many people get into trouble because they set a budget for gift purchases, but forget to include all of the different variables that kill a budget. Remember that you will have food, parties, charitable donations, travel, and other holiday activities that will eat into your pocket. You should budget for all the variables early, decide what you can do, and stick to your budget as closely as possible.
2. Keep Track Of Your Spending
After you complete your budget, you’re going to want to keep track of your spending throughout the season. Not only will this help you keep on budget, but it will also help you with saving and prepare you for the next holiday season. If you’re a spreadsheet ninja, apply those skills to keep track of your dollars as they go out. However, if you’re not as much of an excel wizard, you can use apps like Tiller in order to manage your spending. You can also use an app called Acorns, which will help you keep track of spending, but you also use the app to “round up” the change on your purchases and put it aside in a seperate account. This can be the start of a new holiday fund for next year!
3. Do Your Homework
Don’t show up to the store empty handed with no idea of pricing or a purchasing gameplan. Much like grocery shopping on an empty stomach, you can end up overspending on impulse purchases when you can save money at a different location. Don’t just go to the mall with the hopes to find something for everyone on your “nice” list. You won’t end up saving any money that way. Research beforehand to find the best deals and make a game plan that maximizes your time and doesn’t set you up for temptations. Keep saving money as your central goal.
4. Create A Shopping List
If you have a big family or a lot of people that you need to get gifts for, put it all down on paper. Write down the gift ideas with pricing next to each person’s name. Hopefully, with the research you have already done, you will know just where to find the best deal for what you want to purchase. Writing down the prices gives you a realistic idea of what you’re spending, but it also empowers you to find deals on similar products that might save you money. It’s all about arming yourself with the right information beforehand and finding the best gifts while saving money.
5. Make Purchases With Cash
Many people are still paying back credit card purchases from last holiday season or possibly even the one before that! Credit purchases might not be completely avoidable this holiday season, but cash can be your friend when you’re trying to save money and stick to a budget. After you know your budget and total for the purchases you are making for your shopping list, take the cash from your bank and act as if that’s your only source of spending for the season. When it’s gone, don’t be tempted to keep spending.
The holiday season might be a great time to speak to use your cash balance within a dividend paying whole life insurance policy to pay down debt or to make those big holiday purchases. Rather than setting yourself up for paying down debt with nothing to show for it when it’s paid off, you can recapture payments and interest to set yourself up for next holiday season earlier. Contact Factum Financial for more information.
6. Cut Back On “Self Treatment”
One of the most simple, yet effective ways to start saving money is to cut down on the little budget killers you might indulge in to treat yourself. You can do this at any time of the year to start saving money, but during the holidays might be a good time to cut out that daily (sometimes twice daily) $6 latte or the expensive dine-out lunches and dinners. You can save a lot of money by limiting those impulsive spending decisions and allocating those funds to something else.
7. Find Used Treasures
We can give Millenials credit for the fact that they are more likely to purchase clothing and other items from thrift stores and other resale sites. Purchasing used can save consumers a ton of money. Thrifting should attract people looking to save money during the holidays because it’s an opportunity to find amazing treasures at discounted prices. Often, if you go to upscale resale shop like Plato’s Closet or purchase online from a thrifter like Thredup, you can find items in like-new condition for amazing prices. Hit up shops like Ross as well to see what you can find that might be perfect for a loved one and leave a few bucks in your pocket.
8. Try Cheaper Traditions
The holidays are also full of great family traditions that people look forward to all year. Unfortunately, sometimes those can be budget killers and cost a lot of money. Luckily, you maximize your holiday savings and still create lasting memories by pursuing cheap or free things to do with the whole family. You could try:
- Skip the movie theater for a nice movie at home with hot chocolate.
- If you get snow, try sledding.
- Make holiday crafts!
- Bake all sort of delicious confections as a family.
- Go caroling!
- Tour all the pretty holiday lights and displays.
- If you must go out, check Groupon or Livingsocial to get a discounted price to local attractions.
Overall, if you arm yourself with knowledge and preparation as you proceed into the holiday season, you can minimize the amount of unnecessary debt spending and hopefully even save yourself a little more money.
Tired Of The Holiday Debts?
These tactics can all help you as you go into the holiday season, but maybe you need more than short term savings tactics. Are you still in the hole from last year and need to save so you can keep paying down debt? Or maybe dreading the thought of going back into debt? Perhaps you are wanting to make a big purchase like a vehicle or even a home for a loved one or yourself this holiday season but you don’t want to go and take a massive loan from the bank? You need a wealth solution.
With guidance from Factum Financial, you can maximize stable, compounding returns on your money, earn an annual dividend, and create a personal banking system that gives you the ability to pay down debt or make major purchases without the banks standards. Contact a wealth strategist at Factum Financial today for more information.
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