Far too many individuals, couples, and families spend too much money during the holidays. They fall into the overspending trap by purchasing too many gifts, hosting big parties, and dining out more than usual. Fortunately, there are effective tactics that can prevent seasonal overspending. Review the following suggestions and see which one’s work for you.
Make a Detailed Gift Budget & Stick to It
The single most effective way to slash spending during the runup to November and December holidays is to create a list of gifts, prices, and recipients. Consider announcing to friends and family that you are only getting gifts for children this year and would prefer that other adults don’t buy anything for you. Stick to the gift buying budget against all temptation.
Refinance College & Grad School Loans
There are dozens of worthwhile ways to chop expenses and boost income to maximize holiday cheer. One of the most powerful tools that serves that purpose is a refinancing agreement for student loans. Whether you are paying on one or a half-dozen college and graduate school debt obligations, explore platforms like Earnest.com to find out how refinancing can immediately reduce monthly payments by a substantial amount.
The goal, of course, is to aim for the lowest interest rates, the most flexible payment schedule, and no-fee arrangements in a single, user-friendly online location. Unlike so many other money-related tips for saving money during the celebratory season, refinancing education loans can transform your personal budget by freeing up cash that can be used for buying gifts, hosting get togethers, or taking a year-end trip.
Hold the Line on Restaurant Meals
Avoid the temptation to dine out during the festive season. Instead, plan one or two special meals at your favorite eateries and eat at home the rest of the time. Some families like to visit a formal eatery on Christmas or New Year’s Day, which has become a tradition for millions of US residents.
Remember the Magic Word: Potluck
Families who host large seasonal parties can easily spend several hundred dollars on a simple affair. The low-cost alternative, and one that involves much less work is to hold a potluck dinner. Remember to assign food to guests who are capable in the kitchen. Consider asking one person to bring resealable leftover containers so people can take extra portions home.
For those who are not, their job can be to bring soft drinks, punch, vegetable trays, or chips. As the host your job is to manage the food and drink assignments and maintain the right mix of entrees, desserts, beverages, and side dishes. Potluck feasts can be both enjoyable and nutritious if you design the menu carefully and assign cooking chores to guests who know their way around a kitchen.
Send Post Cards
The average family of four sends out more than 50 cards to friends and family between November and December. With the cost of postage, mailing greeting cards to so many can deplete the budget, especially if your mailing list includes a hundred or more names. Slash the expense in half by purchasing seasonal postcards from the US Postal Service. The things are pre-stamped and feature a small area for writing a note to the recipient. Not only can you save time and money, but it’s almost impossible to get writer’s cramp by dashing off a few lines on each card and tossing it into the mailbox.
Go to an All-Cash System
You don’t need to hire a personal accountant just to get you through the holidays. If you’re the type of person who has the discipline to follow strict, self-imposed rules, lock your credit cards in a safe place, and don’t use them until next January. After making a specific gift buying and entertainment budget for the end of the year, revert to an all-cash system for discretionary spending. Not only is the exercise a great way to wean yourself off the plastic, but it’s also an effective tactic for preventing overspending during a time of year when most folks go into debt.
Hold a Pre-Holiday Cyber Sale
If you’ve been procrastinating about turning unnecessary household items and personal belongings into cold, hard cash, now is the time to act. Let the season be your inspiration to neaten up the attic, garage, extra bedroom, basement, and wherever else stored items accumulate without limit. Start by taking high-quality pictures of each item. Do a pre-screening to separate saleable goods from stuff that should go straight to the junk or donation pile.
Use one of the large auction platforms to list everything, being careful to keep prices low for fast sales. Don’t forget to maintain detailed financial records for tax purposes. Finally, stock up on standard shipping and packing supplies before posting the photographs and setting all the listings to live. Don’t expect everything to sell but starting a few months before the end of the year will give you a solid head start on banking some serious cash.0