Nothing says “happy holidays” more than being broke, and I wish I could say “all jokes aside” but this is actually the reality for many of us during the holiday season. Between buying all of our loved ones gifts, attending more than a few holiday gatherings, irresistible deals at our favorite stores, and treating ourselves with a few things we’ve been dying to get, keeping money in our pockets almost feels impossible.
Sure, spending a little extra money is to be expected during the season of giving, but going broke is absolutely not a requirement. In fact, we can get most of the things we want and still have some money to put in our savings come the new year. Here are 20 tips to help you save money this holiday season.
Cash Only Shopping.
Various studies have shown that we spend a lot more money than we intend to when we shop online or use our cards in store. The reason for this? Out of sight, out of mind. When we use cash, we are completely aware of exactly how much we have left to spend because we can see it and touch it.
When you spend more, it’s obvious that you now have less. In other words, cash is tangible and cards or electronic funds transferring are not. When you use your cards or shop online, you know the money is there and being spent, but you don’t immediately see the results of your spending, so it’s easy to spend more money over time.
To curb this poor money management habit, simply use cash. Take your set amount of money, put it in an envelope, and take it with you shopping. Don’t bring cards for backup, just take the cash and only spend what you have.
Plan, Plan, Plan.
One of the biggest mistakes we make when looking for gifts is shopping without a plan. When we don’t know exactly what we’re looking for, we can’t price it. And if we can’t price it, we cannot create a budget. And if we don’t have a budget, we will absolutely spend recklessly. Not only is this a backward way of doing things, but it’s also a surefire way to quickly and unnecessarily flatten our pockets.
Instead, come up with an appropriate amount for how much you plan on spending altogether. Then, create a list of all of the people you want to shop for, as well as the gifts they want; Research all of the items so you can get exact prices and determine the total. After, compare the total prices of the gifts with your budget and see if it is more or less than the amount you wish to spend.
If you are over, go back to the drawing board and figure out what discounts you can find, what gifts can be replaced with something cheaper, or what can be cut out. If you have money left over, put it in your savings instead of spending.
Utilize Money Saving Apps
Apps that offer discounts, cashback rewards, and budgeting tools are incredibly useful during the holidays. Not only do they help you save, but they make you super aware of the areas where you’re spending unnecessary money. Here a few apps you should consider:
- Ibotta. Earn cashback every time you shop online or in-store. You can shop at one of the participating retailers via the Ibotta app and get instant deals or you can upload your receipt and redeem available offers.
- Retailmenot. The go-to app for discounts, deals, and cashback. An ideal app for little-known Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals you may not know about.
- Tradesy. This luxury resell app offers brands such as Balenciaga, Givenchy, Chanel, and Gucci at incredible discounts. Perfect for giving high-end gifts for a lower price.
- Kiwi. For those of you traveling during the holidays, this app searches over 700 airlines to find the cheapest flight possible for your trip. And the best part, it helps you save up to 90% on flight prices.