It’s the most wonderful time of the year; but can also be the most expensive. Save money this holiday season with these ten tips and trade financial stress for holiday cheer.
Make a List
One good way to save is to avoid impulse spending on friends, family, or acquaintances you don’t see on a regular basis just because a gift you find would be “perfect” for them. Make a list of those you’d like to give a gift to, then trim the edges, and only buy for those who meet the important qualifications of your choosing. For those people who don’t meet the qualifications, a card may suffice.
Set a Budget
One of the biggest stressors over the holidays is deciding just how much to put towards your special someone’s gift. It is important to set a limit on how much you are willing to spend during the holiday season. Don’t forget to include your expenses and monthly budget into the equation. It is fun to give; but it is not fun to give yourself buyer’s remorse. After you’ve made your list and set your total budget amount, go through and set the total you would be willing to spend on each person.
When you have a plan, you are less likely to over spend. Your plan will also help you figure out where you need to go for each item, saving you gas, money, and time. Big retailers hope you’ll walk around and impulse buy, avoiding budgets and savings. Have a clear goal in each store and stick to it. It is also important to know the prices of your gifts at different stores and whether or not there is a sale or coupon. There are apps you can download for this on your phone, or you can use the stores online websites to price match and deal hunt.
Choose Meaning Over Money
Don’t overlook the value of a handmade gift or meaningful gesture. For friends and family, a picture is worth a thousand words – and memories. You can show neighbors you are thinking of them by making a batch of cookies and wrapping them up with a bright bow. Or maybe you’re an avid knitter, or a cross-stitching fanatic and can make something both beautiful and warm. Tap into your skills or hobbies and use them to spread joy without emptying your wallet.
That fuzzy, sparkly, heavy duty gift bag you received during your last birthday or holiday event could come in handy this season. Help save the environment and your piggy bank by reusing gift bags, tissue paper, and bows. Make a new tradition by bringing fun bags to a gift exchange and promising to use them again next year! Think of all the money you’ll save and the fun new combinations you can make when wrapping gifts next year.
Take it Little by Little
Avoid the hustle and bustle and shop before black Friday is even on the calendar. Stores plan on you buying more than what you came in for, especially during the holiday season. It is not uncommon for prices to sky rocket and for “sales” to seem appealing. Spreading your spending throughout the year will help lessen the financial stress heading into the New Year.
Group Gifts Together
Many of the new toys or trendy gadgets these days are pricey. If you have multiple grandchildren or younger ones to buy for, consider giving one gift for the group. Pitching in for a swing set, or video game console that will be shared is one way to save money and knock out your list in one purchase.
Give Gift Cards
If you’re buying for someone who has everything, or is impossible to buy for, gift cards are a great substitute and take away the uncertainty. Plus, this is an opportunity to cut the expense for you. Credit the gift card with what you feel comfortable spending, or what you can put towards the item you were debating. The gift of choice is a great gift sometimes, and it can be cheaper!
Give the gift of time by spending it with each other this year. Presents are fun, but they don’t last like the memories made at a family potluck or a walk through the zoo. Even decorating the tree and making cookies can be an event that creates lasting memories. Family game nights or movie outings are other inexpensive activities to bring everyone together.
Learn More About the Benefits of a Reverse Mortgage
A reverse mortgage may be a great option for homeowners 62 and older. Because a reverse mortgage can free up your existing mortgage payments, this can mean more cash flow savings each month. You will still be responsible for paying property taxes, homeowners insurance, and home maintenance costs. Whether you receive your proceeds in a lump sum, a monthly payment, a line of credit, or a combination of all three, a reverse mortgage can help in a number of different financial situations. A reverse mortgage also gives you such borrowing power as the ability to make payments anytime – including not until your loan comes due – or use the money when you need it.