Here are some smart planning tips courtesy of Bills.com that can help you save $500 or more before the holidays.
Before employing any other savings tactics, create a holiday budget. Calculate the amount available to spend on holiday festivities, including gifts, cards, postage, decorations, entertaining, tips and travel costs.
- Break up with the barista
Breaking a twice-a-week latte habit until the holidays could save $60 by year-end.
- Eat in or bring a meal
Make lunch or dinner at home instead of “grabbing a quick bite.” Saving at least $15 per week by cutting out a restaurant meal or two could add up to $120 by New Year’s.
- Use cash or a debit card
People spend around 15 percent more on purchases paid with a credit card. Last year’s average planned spending for the holidays was $830, so not using credit could reduce that by $125.
- Redeem credit card rewards
If your credit cards accumulate rewards “points” visit the website to convert those rewards into cash or gift cards. Swapping for one gift card might save $50.
- Make a list now
List all gift recipients and begin thinking of what to give them. For those who wish to make gifts, great news: there’s still time. There is still time to learn to knit a scarf or make a personalized scrapbook before the holidays.
- Get gifts together
For recipients like teachers, bosses and coaches, arrange to give a group gift. By pitching in, a group can offer a quality thank-you gift and save around $15 per person.
- Keep the change
Save spare change daily. Turn the coins in at the bank or a coin-counting machine. Saving $1 a day will add up to $50.
- Don’t buy for yourself
Last year, shoppers reported that they planned to take advantage of holiday sales to spend $120 on themselves. Resist and be $120 richer.
All these savings efforts add up to a grand total of more than $500. That’s $500 less you owe on your credit cards, which will help you start the New Year right.