‘Tis the season, to start saving money.
What is it about this time of year that makes otherwise reasonable people so impulsive? We’ve all been there: the holiday magic fades and you’re left holding a stack of credit card bills wondering how it all could have gone so wrong. Since that’s no way to begin the new year, here are five tips to help you save money this holiday.
1. Stick to your list.
Remember in elementary school when you’d do all your holiday shopping at that make-shift store they set up in the cafeteria? The thing I remember most about this magical tradition (besides the random assortment of cheap gifts) is my list of family members and the amount I could spend on each of them.
As adults, many of us forget this basic holiday shopping principle — often causing us to overspend. This year, make a list of who you’re buying for, what you want to get them, and how much you can spend on each person.
Remember, if a list is good enough for Santa, and countless third-graders, it’s good enough for you.
2. Agree on a spending limit.
Prior to making that list, speak with your friends and family about a gift spending limit. If you’re nervous that you’ll look cheap, don’t be. Your family members will be just as relieved to have this conversation — maybe even more so since they won’t be the ones who look cheap for bringing it up.
3. Just the kids.
Have you noticed a lot of little ones running around at family gatherings? If so, it’s the perfect opportunity to recommend a new tradition: only buying gifts for the kids.
Along with saving everyone some money, it’ll make holiday shopping a little easier and less stressful — except for the extra time you’ll spend in the toy store during the holiday rush.
4. Give the gift of giving.
Each year we search for the perfect gift, only to have it quickly forgotten after the holidays. Don’t believe me? What happened to that necktie you gave dad last year, the jewelry you surprised mom with, or that must-have toy from the top of your child’s list?
Instead, donate to the cause each family member feels most passionate about. Not only will this gift be unforgettable, but it’ll also make a real difference. Afterward, your only decision will be whether to also give them the tax credit. This depends… how good were they this year?
5. Host a volunteer party.
Oh, the holiday tradition of getting together with family, friends, and coworkers. Although fun, holiday parties are expensive and have a strange way of getting out-of-hand (remember the lampshade incident, Uncle Joe).
Skip the annual family gathering and start a new tradition: volunteering as a family. Hosting is simple, just contact a nonprofit and invite your friends and family to join you (except for Uncle Joe, he had his chance). Your party won’t only be fun, it’ll also make everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside.
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By: Jason Boulay, Project Manager, Digital Media, UWRI