The holidays are right around the corner, and typically this time of year comes with a larger strain on your wallet. Did you know that the average American is expected to spend around $1,000 this year on holiday expenses? That number could even go up based on the size of your household and what activities you plan on doing this year. If you haven’t already, now is the time to start thinking about saving some extra money so you can take on this costly time of year without going into debt. Below are some tips to help you financially survive this holiday season.
Set a Goal
There’s no point in saving money unless you have a clear goal set in place. Maybe you’re saving up for a holiday vacation, or maybe you just want some extra cash for gifts this year. Regardless of your reason, you’re going to want to set a dollar amount as well as a time frame. This way you can break down your savings goal into weeks and months to make the end goal feel easier to achieve.
Start a Savings Account
Once your goal is in place you’re going to need a place to keep your savings. A smart idea is to start a savings account that is separate from your normal account at your bank or credit union. This keeps your savings out of view and helps sway any urge to spend it early. Look into an online savings account when doing your research. There are many great options out there, and some even allow you to invest so that you can save even more. A pro tip is to look for a high-yield savings account. These offer a higher return on your savings, allowing your money to actually make you more money while it sits there. You can’t lose!
Lower Your Monthly Bills
This may seem like a difficult task, but calling your service and utility providers and asking for lower rates could help you lower your monthly expenses. Consider shopping around for a lower rate on your car insurance, or looking for a new deal on your cable and internet bill. If your credit score has increased since buying your current home, you may also want to explore refinancing your mortgage as a way to lower your monthly payments. All of these combined could add a substantial amount of money to your savings.
Cancel Some Subscriptions
Subscriptions and streaming services may seem like an affordable option in the beginning, but they add up fast. At roughly $10 to $20 a pop, before you know it, you have essentially one large monthly bill on your hands. Consider getting rid of some that you may not use as much as others to save some extra money. You may want to use a subscription tracker app as well. This will help you keep track of all your subscriptions and payments and also remind you of one you may have forgotten.
Consider a Seasonal Job
A seasonal job is a great way to earn some extra money for the holidays. They often only last a couple of months, so you don’t have to worry about committing to a second job long-term. With the job market as unsure as it is right now, many places are looking for help. Some are even offering large sign-on bonuses to encourage you to apply. Check out your local retail stores, restaurants, and even delivery or ride-sharing services to see who is hiring.
Cut Back on Spending
One of the simplest things you can do to save money is to cut back on spending. This doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of everything, but rather you should spend your money more consciously and avoid impulse buying. Try bringing your lunch to work everyday rather than eating out, or making your coffee at home to avoid those high coffee shop prices. These expenses add up and cutting them out can help you achieve your savings goal fast. You may want to look into a budgeting app if you have trouble with overspending. These can show you where you are spending the bulk of your money and also where to cut back.
Sell Your Stuff
Finally, one of the quickest ways to put some cash in your savings account is to sell some of your old stuff that you no longer have a use for. You could have a yard sale, or use one of the many online selling apps to get rid of your things. You may also want to explore Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace as well. Just remember to be safe when meeting people online.
By using some helpful tools, and exercising a little self control, you will be well on your way to saving up for the holiday season. Just remember; saving money doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you plan ahead and go step-by-step. Happy holidays!