Every year when the holidays roll around, people get super excited. It’s fun to decorate and listen to seasonal music. However, there’s the added financial pressure of a budget. Not every holiday requires gifts, but it’s traditional to spend money. You may have to travel to see family, stay at a hotel, experience local entertainment and potentially buy gifts for everyone you love.
It adds up quickly, leading many to take on debt. The good news is, you don’t have to overspend this year. Check out these eight overlooked ways to start saving money for the holidays early.
1. Review Your Subscriptions
Many different subscription services exist today. Everything from razors to daily meals can arrive at your front door with an automated monthly purchase. It’s convenient to sign up for subscriptions so you can do more during your day. However, they may be costing money you don’t need to spend.
Consider what subscriptions you currently pay for. Can you go without during the holiday season? Research to find the same products online at a lower price.
On average, people who cancel subscriptions save more than $500 per year, around $42 each month. That chunk of change would be handy when you want to buy gifts or refill your gas tank for a road trip.
2. Buy Gifts on Sale
To maximize profits, companies offer a ton of seasonal sales. It can save you money to wait on buying gifts until they go on sale, depending on the discount offered.
You might find 20 to 40 percent off sales at local stores, or wait until major discounts on Black Friday hit the market. Waiting for a sale increases the risk an item will go out of stock before you can get it. However, it can drastically cut down on holiday spending.
3. Skip the Plane Tickets
Everyone who’s regularly purchased plane tickets knows to buy early is best — but they can still cost hundreds. If you need money now or are contemplating on ways to save money now, skip the plane tickets during the holidays and drive to your destinations if you can.
When you drive, you only have to pay for gas and potential toll roads. If you’re driving a long distance, it’s hard to determine the costs versus savings. Use an online calculator to determine how much you’ll save by choosing one option over the other.
4. Change Up Date Nights
It’s nice to treat yourself and your loved one to a date night once in a while. While it’s great to bond over shared experiences, dates can get expensive fast. Think about changing up your date nights to make them cheaper.
Instead of paying for movie tickets and overpriced popcorn, watch a rental at home for a few bucks. Make a new recipe together and light some candles. With a little creativity, you can save money on upcoming dates and use the extra for holiday spending.
5. Use Rewards Points
Most credit and debit cards rack up rewards points. Check with your financial institution to see if you have unused points you can trade in for cash, miles or gift cards.
While you have to spend money to get points, it’s an extra resource you can use to prevent holiday debt. If you have enough points saved up, it’s an easy way to cut down on costs. Spend time researching card options before you go on your next shopping spree.
6. Spend Only Cash
People are drawn into credit card debt because it’s easy to swipe and spend what you don’t have. It’s one of many reasons why holiday spending can get out of hand.
Before the holiday season begins, start dealing only with cash. It’ll help you form a habit of only spending what you have, instead of using money you haven’t earned yet. When it’s time to buy gifts, you’ll feel comfortable budgeting with cash and won’t be tempted to overspend.
7. Host a Potluck
Parties frequently happen around the holidays, but they cost a lot for the hosts who throw them. There’s food to think about, snacks to serve and drinks to prepare. That’s not even considering the party decorations and necessary supplies like extra napkins and trash bags.
If you have to throw a party this year, host a potluck instead. Everyone can get together and have a great time, but you won’t have to prepare everything. Guests can bring an appetizer, dish, dessert or drink, with more than enough for everyone to enjoy.
8. Send Holiday E-Cards
Another holiday tradition that requires money is mailing holiday cards. It’s fun to see how your friends and family have grown over the years. However, have you thought about the costs create them?
Skip the professional photographer, printer and post office by sending e-cards. You can use more photos in your designs, showcasing your family. Plus, they arrive the same day, all at no cost.
Think About Your Yearly Spending
Consider what you spend money on during the holidays to figure out where you can save the most. Going out on dates, throwing parties and traveling by plane are all things you can cut back on or put on hold until spring. With the right advice in mind, you can save more than you spend this holiday season!