Affording the holidays can be super stressful. The parties, events, and ALL the gifts – it really adds up! But there’s something you can do to avoid the stress and make affording the holidays easy. PLAN AHEAD. In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how with 5 ways to save for the Holidays right now.
5 Ways to Save for the Holidays Right Now
Some people save for the holidays throughout the whole year. They save a few dollars each week or a set amount each month. There are specific types of bank accounts dedicated to this. And honestly, it’s probably a really great and effective idea. But I wouldn’t know for sure. I have never been this type of saver.
Instead, I start thinking about how much money I’ll need for the holidays in October and by the beginning of November I’m in hardcore saving mode. And that works really well for me.
Don’t worry, if that sounds a little intense for you. There will be easier ways to save for the holidays on this list, too. But my point is that you shouldn’t feel discouraged if it’s the middle of October (or even the middle of November) and you haven’t started saving yet. There is still time and I’m going to show you how.
How much do you need?
Before you actually start saving for the holidays, it’s important that you figure out how much you’re actually going to need. How do you figure that out? I’ve created an easy to use resource that walk you through exactly how to determine how much you need. Click here to get your FREE 2017 Holiday Spending Plan now.
Now, let’s get started on our savings…
1. Do a Spending Freeze
A spending freeze is a set period of time in which you don’t spend any money. You can exactly how to do a spending freeze here.
Every year, I do a 2-week spending freeze in the beginning of November called No Spend November.
Here is a very in-depth post about No Spend November. I walk you through step-by-step exactly how I rock No Spend November.
Then, I use the money I save during my No Spend November to jump start my holiday savings. And it’s awesome!
After doing this, I’ve built great momentum and I’m well on my way to reaching the amount I need for the holidays.
2. Cut back
Usually, I talk about cutting back on the cost of bills. And you should totally do that! But when it comes to saving for the holidays quickly, it’s going to be more effective to cut back on daily expenses, like grocery costs.
To cut back on grocery costs, simply look at your grocery budget and decide how much you want to save each week. Easily cut back by $5-$10 by cutting out snacks, desserts, or anything you don’t essentially need.
If you’re wanting to save more than that, say $20 a week, that’s possible too. It’ll just take more effort. You can cook big batches of inexpensive meals (think tomato soup or chili). If you do try to cut back this much on your weekly grocery budget I recommend making a really strict meal plan.
You can save a ton quickly by cutting back on other everyday expenses, as well. Cut out drive-thru coffee, take-out lunches, restaurant dinners (having other people prepare your food is really expensive in the long run). Cancel the gym membership you don’t use.
Basically, take a close look at everything you spend money on, and cut out anything you don’t absolutely need. For a few months at least. If you decide you want to go back to something after the holidays, that’s up to you. But, you may find that you really don’t need some of that stuff.
3. Make sure every expense is planned and deliberate
This seems obvious, but it makes such a big difference.
Avoid impulse purchases.
Don’t decide spur of the moment to make a purchase.
Instead, plan where every dollar goes. Stick to your plan. Don’t buy things you don’t need.
And keep your receipts in case you make a mistake. Just go back and return those things you don’t need.
4. Make some extra money
If all of that just isn’t enough for you, find ways to make extra money.
There are lots of things you can do, especially this time of year, to pull in some extra cash.
An obvious way to do this is to get an extra part time job. A lot of retail stores are hiring for seasonal help and that’s pretty easy to get into – just walk in and apply.
If you’re not into that, or don’t have time for that, I totally get it.
Don’t worry, there’s lots of other things you can do.
An easy way to pick up extra cash is User Testing at UserTesting.com. All you have to do is record yourself navigating a website and sharing your opinions about it. You make $10 for each test you do, and it takes about 15 minutes. Easy money.
You can do odd jobs to pick up some extra cash. Dog walk. Babysit. Tutor. Use the skills you have to make money. If you’re crafty, open an etsy shop. If you’re technically inclined, maybe fix someone’s computer. Think about what you’re good at and use it to your advantage.
If you have the option to work overtime, do it. If your husband has the option to work overtime and chooses to do it so that your family can extra money, be supportive. (I might be talking to myself with that one!)
It’s also a smart idea to look around your home and see if you can find anything you can sell–old GPS, smart phone, recent college textbooks, etc. You can sell things on Amazon, Ebay, or on local Facebook sale groups. That’s a great way to make extra cash!
Then, make sure you put that extra money aside for what you really need. In this case, your holiday spending.
Now, here’s the most important part…
5. Make a plan
As I said in the beginning, it’s super important that you know how much money you need.
It’s also super important that you know exactly what you’re going to spend that money on.
It is essential that you make a plan.
Otherwise, you’re doing all of this for nothing. You’ll be spinning your wheels and saving the money but you won’t have the money where you need it when you need it to be there.
Now, here is the good news, my friends. Once you set a clear plan and work through it to save for the holidays this year, it’s going to be so much easier next year!
Saving for the holidays is just a yearly routine for me. I know will create a plan and determine exactly how many dollars I need. I know I’m going to start with No Spend November. From there, I know I will cut back on my grocery budget. And my husband will work overtime and I will do my best to remember not to give him a hard time about it.
This has been my routine for the past 3 years. It’s almost on autopilot now.
So, put in the work now, and next year it’s going to be so much easier!
Psst… If you still can’t afford all the holiday expenses after trying these ideas, you can read about what to do when you can’t afford the holidays here.