It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit once December comes around. Although the holiday’s may be a magical time of year, they aren’t so magical for our bank accounts. Between buying presents for everyone on our lists, getting new decorations, and making sure we have the best ingredients for our holiday dinners, all most of us want for Christmas is to have some money leftover! This year you can with these 10 tips to help you save during the holiday season.
- Setup an Account for Holiday Spending
Planning ahead is a great way to make sure your bank account isn’t destroyed after the holidays. One way you can help prepare for extra holiday spending and stay within budget is to open a free checking account and the BankMobile app makes it easy. Simply take a picture of your driver’s license, answer some security questions, and you’ll be on your way to opening a new account for the holidays.
- Track Your Spending
Getting in the holiday spirit can also mean gift buying without keeping track of how much you’ve spent. Setting a budget and sticking to it is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t spend more than you should this year. Using a budgeting app, like Mint, can help you track your spending and stay within budget.
- Reduce Your Gift Spending by Playing Secret Santa
Trying to buy a nice gift for everyone on your friends and family list can get ridiculously expensive. Drastically reduce the amount of gifts you have to buy, and more importantly the amount of money you need to spend, by switching to Secret Santa or a gift exchange game like a white elephant exchange or gift swap. Setting a price limit with budget friendly gifts can also help reduce costs and make sure everyone gets something within the same ballpark.
- Let Your Inner DIY Diva Free
There’s really nothing more special than a gift from the heart and nothing shows that love as much as a homemade gift. Explore websites like Pinterest or Etsy to find the perfect DIY gift at any skill level and price point. One of the easiest (and least expensive) projects are these little no-sew snowmen made out of white tube socks. A standard 6 pair pack of men’s socks will make 12 snowmen!
- Spread the Cooking Duties (and the Costs) with a Holiday Dinner Potluck
Hosting the big holiday dinner can be expensive, especially if you have a large family. Rather than take on all the cooking duties and grocery expenses, consider throwing a potluck. Offer to provide the main dish, like a ham or turkey, and ask family to bring the side dishes. Other ways to help make sure your potluck is a success is to plan a theme and let people know how much of each dish to bring.
- Take Advantage of Holiday Deals
There are many great deals to be had around the holidays, you just have to take advantage of them. Look for special store offers and special deals by checking out your favorite stores or signing up for email lists. Consider who you need to buy for and follow stores or companies that sell things that may make good gifts for the people on your list. For instance, if you have a friend or family member into tech gear or dying for the new iPhone 7, carriers like T-Mobile are offering hard to resist holiday deals.
- Use Money Saving Apps
Money saving apps, like Ebates and Ibotta, can help you save money and get cash back on your purchases. By shopping with affiliated stores, including Amazon.com, Kohl’s, and Sephora, through Ebates, you can get up to 40% cash back on your purchases and take advantage of over 10,000 coupons. Ibotta provides cash back on featured products at over 300 retailers, including Target, Gymboree, and Old Navy.
- Don’t Go Overboard on Decorations
Decorating for the holidays is one of the highlights of the season but it can get pricey without a little self-control. Save money by setting a budget on decorations or simply using what you already have. If you’re looking for an easy, and inexpensive way, to add some holiday cheer to your home, try transforming your current pictures frames into festive wall art by covering them in wrapping paper and adding ribbons and bows to make them look like giant presents.
- Cut Back on Extras
While you’re cutting back on decorations, consider cutting back on other holiday extras to further your savings this season. Consider scaling back on stocking stuffers, or look for budget friendly options, and skip the holiday lattes when you’re out shopping at the mall.
- Start a New Family Tradition
Of course presents are great, but we all know spending time with our loved ones is the real gift of the holiday season. Start a new family tradition this year by picking a date after the holidays to do something fun, free, or inexpensive together instead of buying millions of presents. Plan a family game night, have a scavenger hunt, or pack a picnic to the local park (if the weather’s nice), and enjoy connecting with your loved ones.
You can have a special and memorable holiday without breaking the bank. Taking advantage of holiday deals, money saving apps, and practicing a little self-control can go a long way when it comes to saving money during the holidays. Happy holidays and happy savings!
Jennifer Thayer is a technology writer from Southern California who loves finding ways technology can make life easier. She enjoys sharing her tips and tricks with readers. Follow her on Twitter.