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In preparation for the holiday season and the spending that comes along with it, we want to help you plan for it! From now until Spring the spending season is upon us with Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, and more! For many of us, gift-giving may be exciting (or gift-receiving) but it can become very costly, very quickly. Instead of swiping your card, and feeling the affects of that spending later, let’s talk about how you can plan. Here are some ways that you can cut back your spending, save money, plan for the future all while enjoying the holiday season!
Create a Budget Line
To stick to a set budget is not only practicing growth and boundaries, but it celebrates the art of self-control. A budget doesn’t mean you can’t make your friends and family happy, but rather how you can do it all while not risking your own bank account or well-being! What does a budget look like for the holiday season you may be asking! Let’s talk about it and break it down:
Choose an amount you want to spend in TOTAL on all gifts OR per person.
Mom = $50
Dad = $50
Sister = $40
Best Friend= $35
This amount means you can most definitely spend below. This means you may have extra money; you can save or allocate somewhere else. Consider it like a game, be strategic about how you spend your money AND you may just get more for your money! When you readjust your mindset to being strategic about spending, it can become second nature AND competitive!
Sentimental over Expensive
Depending on who you are buying (and how picky they may be), a sentimental homemade gift may save you a lot of money and mean just as much as a $400 gift. Consider one of the following sentimental gifts to save this year:
Photo (estimated $3-$15): Print a photo of your person at a local drugstore (check for coupons and specials beforehand!) and purchase a frame from the dollar store, craft store, or home-goods store!
Painted Glass (Estimated $1-$10): If you are artistic, purchase a glass (wine glass or tumbler) from the dollar store, grab some paint (if you want it long-lasting, use glass paint), and paint a nice design on the glass! One of a kind AND affordable!
Jar of ____ (Estimated $0-$5): Depending on the person you are gifting, here are some ideas of “jars” you can make for them using a mason jar and paper! If you already have the items around your house, this could be SUPER affordable. Quality time with your friends, family or loved ones is one of the best gifts you can give them!
100 Reasons Why I Love You
50 Favorite Memories
100 Quotes When Your Having a Bad Day
Fortune Jar (Make your fortunes for them, without the cookie!)
Movie Jar (Filled with Movies you can watch with them, pick at random)
30 Places to Visit (Filled with local places you can visit, pick at random
Find Promo Codes & Discounts
Quite often people will see a discounted item and stop their research there! Scour the internet for additional discounts and promo codes to help you save money. Look for student, military, and healthcare discounts if you fall into those categories! Even big companies like Target offer student discounts if you verify online! Look and remember even if it’s 10%, it’s more money in your pockets… (it’s your money after all!)
Make sure to check other websites and apps as well including SheerID, UniDays, and RetailMeNot. They are all created and running to help you save money through ID verification AND or just promo codes!
Utilize cash-back and debt-repayment tools!
Sounds too good to be true but did you know that you can pay back your loans and debt while making purchases for the holidays? Spendebt allows you to do just that. Every time you make a purchase it can round up to the nearest dollar OR just add a full dollar amount to go directly to your debt repayment! It’s easy and you can set it up quickly! Check it out here.
Start a savings line for the holidays!
If you designate $40 a week, from now until December 1st, you will save $240 to use just towards gifts! If you are receiving a steady income stream, this is a great way to jumpstart your savings. Although this may feel last minute, it is more important you plan for next year so you can have a larger pool to spend from! Remember, you don’t have to spend massive amounts of money, but the more you save the better. It’s also important to realize that you don’t NEED to spend all of it. It should become a goal of yours to have leftover money and reallocate it. Maybe choose to through it in an emergency fund, put it towards your bills, or create a new line for the following year!
We all want to make the people around us happy, but the pressures that come with that, don’t always make us happy! Remember that having saving money should always priority and you most definitely can implement it throughout your holiday shopping.
Mental health and well-being are extremely vital to the financial journey, and when you fail to prioritize that, you begin to lose yourself! Make sure to take time to put yourself first, plan and execute. Spending, giving and receiving doesn’t have to hurt your bank OR your financial journey. If you are looking for more resources on spending, find my Level Up Your Money Checklist here, and check out my podcast The Money Exchange for more tips and tricks.