Stress-Free Money Savings Tips for the Holidays By taking a few proactive steps with your holiday spending, it’s possible to make it through the season without feeling the burn. BY KIMBERLY FOSS
Lift the burden of stressing about money this holiday season by taking a few proactive steps.
“ Set up an automatic transfer direct from your paycheck each week. Have a certain amount of money deposited into a savings account, not linked to your ATM card or checkbook.”
With the holidays rapidly approaching, many couples are faced with an increase in spending. We all know money doesn’t grow on trees, especially during this season. Moreover, in today’s economic climate, many people are funding their holiday shopping with credit cards, causing them guilt and numerous financial resolutions come January 1.
No matter what stage you are in a marriage, the amount of money needed to survive the holidays can rack up. Newlyweds may find themselves with additional gifts to buy for in-laws and double the amount of holiday dinners to attend. Those marriages with kids of their own are sure to run into buying the latest and greatest gifts for their children, which of course comes along with high price tags.
So how can you avoid racking up debt as Christmas rolls around? Consider the below strategies:
Review your spending: Stop eating out and enjoy some home-cooked meals. According to Bundle.com, the average American spends $232 a month dining out. Also, take a look at your monthly bills: cell phone, cable, utilities, and see where costs can be cut. Can you find a more cost-effective cell carrier? Do you really need all those movie channels?
Bank holiday savings account: Set up an automatic transfer direct from your paycheck each week. Have a certain amount of money deposited into a savings account, not linked to your ATM card or checkbook. It's best to do this months in advance so you have time to accrue savings, regardless it's never too late.
Earn money off your hobby: Putting extra hours and effort into your creative work this season might pay off financially. Perhaps you can offer to do home repairs in your neighborhood or have a craft fair to sell your creations.
Recycle gift cards: If you received a gift card in the past, but have no need for it, you can recycle it by selling it on www.plasticjungle.com.
Homemade gifts: Homemade cookies, breads, etc. can be ideal gifts for teachers, hairdressers or the mailman. Baking with you spouse and kids is a great way to get into the holiday spirit as well. Be sure to crank up the holiday music.
It is important to also understand the consequences of turning to credit—not only during this season, but all year around. Couples who rack up their credit card bills during the holidays can end up paying hundreds of dollars in interest charges for years to come. By implementing some of the above tips, you and your significant other will be able to save a solid chunk of cash to use over the holiday season.
Kimberly Foss is a Certified Financial Planner and personal finance expert with 29 years industry experience. Kimberly founded Empyrion Wealth Management (Roseville, Calif.) 23 years ago to offer her clients unbiased advice, always putting their interests first.