Every season has its obstacles to someone trying to save money. Recognizing and overcoming the challenges is the first way to be successful!
For instance, with the fresh newness of spring, people often want to rush out and redecorate their homes. Summer brings vacation spending. And the fall and winter come hand-in-hand with often-expensive holidays!
What’s a person trying to get smart with their money to do?
Well, this fall and winter, you can start saving by using these seven tips to beat the holiday spending madness.
1. Send Your Savings Straight There
When putting money into your savings comes after you have paid all your bills and incidentals, it probably doesn’t happen. But when you set up your check so that a certain amount goes into savings automatically, you don’t even miss the money.
You can do this a few ways:
- If you have direct deposit, get with your employer or bank and set up your payments. Have a percentage or set amount automatically detoured into your savings.
- For physical checks, pull out two deposit slips: one for your checking, one for your savings. Deposit your check, then give the clerk the savings slip and have them transfer the amount into your savings account before you leave the bank.
- Sign up for round-up savings. Your bank may have this program. If not, there are apps that do it for you. When you use your debit card, the change is rounded up and transferred over to your savings account, usually once a week.
Whichever savings route you prefer, make sure you put your money there before you start your spending routine. You can get suggestions for reputable apps in personal finance communities online.
2. Avoid the Seasonal Crazes
Pumpkin spice mocha latte whatever it is, avoid it! Seasonal flavors and scents are tempting, but the price tag that goes with them is usually inflated.
If you must have your fix of the goodness that is your favorite flavor, try to make it at home or buy the smallest size you can. You’ll be healthier, and so will your bank account!
3. Plan Your Meals
The meal prep way to plan for shopping and dining is a huge trend today, for a good reason. Planning what you are going to eat at the beginning of the week is beneficial on almost every level!
Financially, meal prep keeps you from running through last-minute fast food lines or hitting the restaurant because you didn’t feel like cooking. It also lets you plan your ingredients in advance so you can shop for them on sale instead of at full price.
Meal prep also gives you the chance to plan healthier fares for your family. Even if you’re sticking with processed, pre-packaged choices, these are still usually healthier than greasy or carb-laden restaurant meals.
Of course, the mental connection of sitting at the table eating with your family at the end of a busy day is yet another great benefit of consistent meal planning. There’s really no better overall way to save money!
4. Shop Second-Hand
Thrift shop, consignment, and used goods stores are in demand today. If you need it, it’s probably online or in a second-hand shop nearby.
The stigma of buying used has disappeared as the increasing importance for people to save money has become a reality.
The knowledge of how the “everything has to be new” mindset is impacting the environment is another bonus. You can help the ecosystem by shopping second-hand for everything you need, including holiday gifts!
5. Put Down Your Credit Card
The holidays are a credit card company’s best friend. People rack up their cards up to the limit and then spend the next few years attempting to pay off the debt, at high interest rates.
If you’re tempted to pull out your credit card to make a gift purchase, for you or a loved one, put it away! There are other options that won’t cost you ten times the purchase or more in interest charges.
Many big stores offer layaway at no cost or their own financing at zero percent if it is paid off in a certain time.
These financial offers are beneficial to the store because they bring in smart shoppers. They’re good for you because you can toss your credit card back in your wallet!
6. Set a Spending Cap on the Holidays
Following your friends and family on social media during the holidays can be dangerous. You see everyone getting brand new luxury vehicles or taking trips, and you want to keep up with their spending.
Chances are, they’re financing most of that. They’ll be paying for those gifts long after they’re not used anymore. Instead of falling into the same trap, talk to your family about putting a cap on how much each person should spend.
7. Try a Potluck Style Meal
Do you spend all year salivating over visions of a ten-course Thanksgiving feast? Or maybe the sugarplums dance in your head over the Christmas holidays. But once you’ve eaten your fill, there is nothing to show for it (unless, of course, it sticks to your hips).
The huge, delicious meals are still possible, but they don’t have to cost you an arm and a turkey leg. Talk to your guests ahead of time and plan a potluck style meal. You might find that everyone is happy to chip in and bring something!
The trick is to make sure all your courses are covered. Don’t say, “Oh, bring whatever you want.” If you do, you might end up eight desserts and no sides. You might not think that’s a bad thing, but your guests could disagree.
Regardless, the financial burden of the meal, even if you are hosting, should not fall squarely on your bank account.
It can be hard to save any time of year, but the fall and winter bring extra temptations to spend money. With these seven tips, you can make it through the holiday seasons and walk away with money in your pocket!