The holidays are a wonderful time but also a time when things tend to get a bit hectic and stressful for most people. If you’re not careful with budgeting and planning how to save money during the holidays, it can also be a very expensive time of year as well. If you often find yourself squeaking by at the end of winter with pennies to spare, no fear. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the holidays with family and friends without breaking the bank.
Especially when it comes to winter travel, planning is incredibly important. Waiting until the very last minute to buy a plane ticket, make a hotel reservation, or pick up gifts can lead to serious overspending. Airline tickets tend to vary in price throughout the year, according to availability and how close you’re planning to purchase the ticket to your travel date. Months ahead of when you plan to fly or book your room, make sure you’re searching and comparing prices. The earlier you can get your ticket or reservation, the better. Many airlines and hotels will jack up their prices around the holiday season. They know people are going to pay extra in order to see their families. Don’t get caught in that trap! As for shopping, take advantage of clearance items and don’t be afraid to shop around throughout the rest of the year. Also pay attention to when items are going to be on sale.
Make a budget (and stick to it!)
The number one reason people overspend is because they don’t make and follow a budget. Cut your crazy spending habits now by creating a budget for travel, dining out, entertaining, entertainment, and gift-giving. Also make sure the budget is reasonable! Just because it’s the holidays, that doesn’t mean you should put yourself into mounds of debt in order to make the holidays “perfect”. Your family and friends should appreciate your time and respect your decision to save money during the holidays more than the cost of some expensive object.
Cash is king when you plan to save money during the holidays
When it comes to budgeting, cash is king. It’s far too easy to whip out a credit card and overspend money you don’t even really have. Use cold, hard cash to keep your spending limited to what money you currently have. This will also help prevent you from racking up ridiculously high interest rates.
Create new traditions
Is your family used to lavish, expensive over-the-top holiday traditions? Maybe it’s time to revamp your holiday plans to be more budget-friendly.
- Instead of buying gifts for everyone, consider drawing names. Alternatively, turn gift exchanges into a “white elephant” game. Set a limit (around $20 is standard) as to what people should spend on the gift(s) they want to exchange. As a bonus, your whole family will also get the benefit of saving money.
- Opt for a pot-luck style dinner. Sure, you probably want to host an amazing dinner but that can get expensive real fast. And if the food doesn’t immediately get eaten, it ends up in the trash. Having a pot-luck allows people to get a little bit of everything and helps take the load off the host.
Of course, another way to reduce costs is to make sure your heating system is cleaned and maintained. Contact A-Abel to have a professional HVAC technician to come out to your home. Ensure your ducts are clean and ready for the holidays, too!