‘Tis the season for hot cider, gift-giving, and extra spending. The holidays are here—and with them come added expenses like Christmas parties, stocking stuffers, holiday hams, travel, décor, and so much more.
These six strategies will help you save enough to enjoy all the holiday fun without going into debt.
Create a Budget
Before you clear all the frosted sugar cookies from the shelves and buy your favorite elves their holiday gifts, you need to write a budget. Figure out how much money you have flowing in and how much you currently have going toward expenses. Next steps include determining which expenses can be cut (to make room for holiday fun), which expenses are non-negotiable this season (gas to get to grandma’s, a large ham for dinner), and where there’s wiggle room.
Remember, a budget only works if you stick to it. According to Yahoo Finance, 56% of consumers took on credit card debt to pay for holiday purchases in 2016 and 1 in 4 people went over their budget. Stay cheery and avoid holiday debt by routinely visiting your budget and ensuring you aren’t going overboard on the holiday treats.
Skip a Payment Promotion
Just because it’s the holidays, doesn’t mean your other expenses disappear. You still need to pay credit card payments, car loans, student loans… the list is as long as Santa’s “Nice List.”
Avoid holiday stress and add some jingle to your pocket by participating in NSP Credit Union’s Skip A Payment promotion. It’s easy! Simply pay NSP a fee and we’ll skip one monthly payment in November, December, or January. Give your wallet a little extra holiday cheer. Apply today.
Make Some Extra Cash
Sometimes, making more money is easier than spending less. You don’t want to give up your daily peppermint mocha and we don’t blame you—they’re delicious. If cutting back this season isn’t on your wishlist, maybe it’s time to pick up a part-time job, sell some of your old clothes, or offer to help a neighbor with household chores. A few extra dollars in your pocket can make all the difference when it’s time to fill stockings.
Give Up Little Luxuries
Speaking of peppermint mochas, enjoying a luxury treat every day may not be the best option if you’re already pinching pennies. By consciously opting to give up a little luxury, you can save yourself some big cash.
Think of it this way: a Grande Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks cost $4.65. If you’re sipping one every day for the month of November, that’s $139.50 – A few presents! Not looking so sweet anymore, huh?
Set a Spending Cap for Each Person on Your List
If your Nice List is nice and long, it might be a good idea to set a spending cap for each name on it. This ensures you know how much you’re going to spend ahead of time and gives you a roadmap for shopping.
Bonus tip: Go the Secret Santa route and avoid buying lots of gifts. If your family or friend group is extra-large, throw everyone’s name in a hat and draw one—that’s who you’re in charge of gifting. Suddenly, your list is nice and short.
Spend Only Cash
Since you’re already armed with a budget, you know exactly how much you can afford to spend. Leave the plastic at home and spend only cash this holiday season. Experts say you’re all but guaranteed to spend less. Why? Because when you physically see your money dropping from your wallet, you feel more connected to your purchase and you’ll think twice before clearing the store of every last bundt cake.
One last tip: Little things add up quickly. When planning your holiday spending, don’t forget gas, hotel stays, unexpected dinners, postage for mail, and cards.
Don’t be a scrooge this season—head into the holidays cheery and well prepared.