"You better watch out. You better not cry…” As Christmas approaches, one must keep an eye - not on guy in the red suit - but on your wallet. Because when we get caught up in the frenzied atmosphere of the season, we end up spending big on parties, needless gifts, even ill-timed travels. Before you know it, the most wonderful time of the year has turned into the most dreadful: a post-holiday debt that would take months to pay. Don’t let Christmas end this way. Here are 7 simple yet effective money saving tips.
- Make a list.
“He’s making a list and checking it twice…” Now that’s one gifting lesson we could all learn from Santa. When you set a holiday budget, start with a list. Note down all your gifts, parties, decors, trips, and set a budget. Be realistic. If your list tells you you’re overbudget, trim down the items that are unnecessary. For example, why give individual gifts to a family friend and their kids when you can give one gift that their entire family will love. Once you’ve set your budget, make sure to stick to it. If you keep making excuses to spend extra, you’ll end up in the red.
- Practice “envelope budget”.
The convenience of paying with a credit card is the downfall of many when it comes to keeping track of expenses. The solution is simple: substitute your credit card with cash. Withdraw only the amount you need based on the itemized budget you made. Then separate the money into envelopes corresponding to each expense. Once the money is gone, resist the idea of spending money you don’t have.
- Limit treating yourself.
“One gift for you. One gift for me.” Sounds familiar? When shopping for gifts, it’s not uncommon to treat yourself as well. Sometimes it may just be a latte break in between shopping. But when you add up all these little “rewards”, the amount can burn a hole in your pocket. So, if you must treat yourself, make sure you’ve also set a budget for it – and stick to it!
- DIY decors and gifts
Why buy new Christmas decors when you can make them yourself? Paint your empty wine bottles and dress them as Christmas characters. Use last year’s Christmas cards as tree trimmings. Don’t throw your egg carton trays yet – turn them into a wreath! And when it comes to gifting, make your own! Whether it’s something you baked or crafted, no gift is more unique and personal than something you made yourself. What’s more you’re doing the earth favor by recycling and repurposing what you have.
- Give your time
If you’re not into DIY gifts, you can still give something that’s just as personal and meaningful. Give the gift of time. Offer free lessons on something you’re good at – whether it’s cooking or coding. Babysit for a couple who needs some time off together. Help declutter and organize someone’s home. While it doesn’t cost much to spend time with someone the memories you create are priceless gifts that last a lifetime.
- Schedule trips post-Christmas
Got travel plans with the family? Avoid the pricey holiday fares by scheduling your trip after the holidays. Not only will it save you money, it will also spare you from the stress of the holiday frenzy.
- Pay more than the minimum
If you’re using your credit card to make holiday purchases, make sure you pay more than the minimum amount required. This keeps your credit score in good standing and helps you avoid late payment and fees. If you’re struggling to pay your credit card debt, get expert advice from Financial Rescue’s customer representatives. Give us a call or visit our website. With our expertise, you can manage your debt more effectively and enjoy the best time of the year.