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The holidays are a wonderful season full of joy and family, and a WHOLE lot of extra expenses. If you're stressed about paying for all the extras this season, check out these suggestions.
Having an organized game plan before you go shopping helps you stay on track while looking for gifts, and helps you determine a total price point for your budget. DO NOT plan to spend more on gifts than you can afford to spend - racking up credit card debt to buy gifts isn't worth it.
You may look at your budget and your list of people you would like to give a gift to, and realize there is no way to buy traditional gifts and stay on budget. Make something! The year we were in the midst of student loan payoff we had zero extra money. We crafted almost everyone's Christmas gifts. Honestly, I think everyone appreciate the gesture and effort we put it.
I love Rakuten. Realistically this isn't going to make you tons of money. That being said, it is completely free. It will automatically search coupons for you, AND give you cash back. There really is no downside. Make sure you're using this if you shop online this year.
Plan your holiday menus in advance. Seek out a coupon or sale on the "big ticket" item of the meal (like a spiral cut ham for example). Get whatever grocery items you can at Aldis.
Wrapping paper is expensive and nearly impossible to reuse! Gift bags can be pricey too, but are often reusable. If you have bags available to reuse, do so! I keep a tote box full of Christmas bags in our attic from the prior year. When I go to wrap Christmas gifts, I start there.
Having your Christmas tree or exterior lights run all day can rack up your electric bill. Put everything on a timer, and only have them on during the hours you will actually be enjoying them.
This will likely be much more difficult in 2020 than most years due to the toll COVID19 has taken on our economy. In traditional years, consider picking up seasonal work at your favorite retail store. Not only will you make extra money, but you can also get a discount while gift shopping.
Track how much you spend this holiday season on EVERYTHING, including gifts, extra groceries, travel expenses, etc. Starting in January 2020, start a sinking fund for next year's holiday season. For example, let's say you spent $1200 this year. Start setting aside $100/month in January 2021. By December of next year, your $1200 "sinking fund" will be complete and you can cashflow all estimated extra expenses without a single worry.
At the end of the day, try to remember the reason for the season and not let commercialized aspects add unwarranted stress.
If you're looking for a few stocking stuffer ideas for family, friends, or yourself - these gifts will give the added benefit of making life better in 2020 for whoever receives them!
- The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins
- The Complete Guide to Money by Dave Ramsey
- Cashflow Cornerstones, my online and self-paced course to get your financial life on track
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