It’s almost that time of year when we get to spend entire paychecks getting all of our friends and family amazing presents and we get candles and body lotion. Before going broke due to your generosity, here are 6 great easy ways to save money before the holidays:
1. Bring food to work
When I take a look at my Mint spending graph, about 50% of my money every month goes to food-related expenses. It’s insane how easy it is to underestimate how much of our money goes towards things like morning coffee and lunch on weekdays. You’re paying for convenience, but this can mean $10-$15 every day when you can just take 15 minutes from your morning to make a yummy lunch at home. Do this almost every day and you could save a little over $300 by the holidays.
2. Stop using the dry cleaners
I am all for taking proper care of your expensive things to keep them looking new longer – but if you want to save some money for those insane black friday deals where women push each other and start fights like they’re in the Bronx – you should try holding off cleaning unless absolutely necessary or washing this stuff yourself. You can easily spend $8-$12 per piece, so you can save about $50-$80 for Nana’s new sewing kit.
3. Get rid of your FOMO
If you aren’f familiar with this acronym, FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out syndrome. The weekends are definitely the hardest time to save money since it’s so tempting to spend on all that fun, social, but unnecessary stuff. Buying drinks at a bar – going out to eat and splitting a huge bill … these expenses will kill your shopping budget. Instead, learn to be ok with inviting friends over to watch the game or making dinner at home to save anywhere from $50- $100 a weekend (or more for those with drinking problems or guys attempting to impress women with overpriced restaurants).
4. Sell all that stuff you don’t use anymore
I am a HUGE believer in using online tools like eBay and Craigslist to sell your unwanted stuff. If you have brand name clothing and accessories or electronics of value – list them on eBay and put that money towards your holiday budget. I’ve even sold things on eBay for more than I paid – read how I did it in my article on How to Sell on eBay Like a Pro. I find that Craigslist is best for selling things like furniture and other large items locally. Depending on what you sell, you could earn $100-$300 selling stuff you won’t ever miss.
5. Use those rewards points
It’s easy to forget about all of those credit card reward points that your skillful shopping has helped you to acquire. These points are great to use for traveling to visit family over the holidays, but you can also redeem them in the form of gift cards to retailers like Target and Best Buy – the perfect place for all sorts of generic gifts for people you feel obligated to buy for. Depending on how many points your working with, this could mean hundreds of dollars in savings.
6. Comparison shop!
When it finally comes time to shop – I always find that staying away from the mall and comparison shopping online isthe best way to get buy gifts this time of year. Online retailers like Amazon are great for comparison pricing and saving money on shipping since they can do it all in one shot. This is also a great way to avoid the crowds of people foaming at the mouth and ready to cut you if you get in their way.