Well, as is often said, it’s that time of year again. The holiday season is just around the corner, and with it comes extra expenses in the form of presents, get-togethers, travel, eating out, and parties. But you don’t want a depleted bank account to put a crimp in your festive spirit. How can you avoid that unhappy circumstance? Read on.
1. Buy presents that are cheaper—and better. Buying presents is too often a guessing game. How often have you agonized in the past over getting loved ones things you’re not entirely sure they really want or have any use for? That’s why you can’t go wrong with edible goods—everyone needs to eat and everyone enjoys food. More to the point, consumables are often less expensive than an unneeded gift that will end up gathering dust in a closet. Instead of perfume or the umpteenth Xmas sweater, how about a jug of quality maple syrup or a basket of homemade cookies? Even easier on the wallet are intangible presents that cost you nothing, such as doing repair work or offering dog-walking or babysitting services.
2. Create a budget. Decide how much money you can comfortably afford to spend on holiday-associated things for the season and stick to it. Be as complete as possible—don’t forget little things such as holiday cards. You can also open a short-term certificate of deposit at your bank or a Christmas Club account, for which you simply deposit a certain amount of money on a regular basis throughout the year.
3. Sacrifice pricey little pleasures. If you think about it, you’ll be surprised at how much you regularly spend on things like fancy coffee drinks and take-out food. Cutting back for the holiday months will help fatten your wallet.
4.Take advantage of free entertainment. Avoid going to the movies or restaurants and enjoy no-cost activities instead. Hang out at the park with friends, or—if you live in the vicinity—go to the beach. Libraries and bookstores often offer free events. And don’t forget to drive around and check out holiday light displays in your neighborhood.
5. Don’t wait to shop for gifts. Have your gift list ready starting in January and keep your eyes peeled for sales all year long. That ideal item for your niece might be discounted now but could be marked up by the time the holidays roll around. There are a number of different shopping apps that will do your comparison shopping for you to make the job easier, such as ShopSavvy and RetailMeNot.
6. Don’t wait to shop for plane tickets, either. If you’re planning on going home for the holidays, keep in mind that ticket prices get higher as the day you want to depart gets closer. Signing up for Google’s website https://www.google.com/travel/flights can be very helpful, as it will alert you when prices for your destination go up or down.
7. Reuse bows and wrapping paper. It may be hard to stop the kids from tearing into their presents with wild abandon, but you should have the self-control to open gifts gently. Gift bags, bows, ribbons, and even wrapping paper can be saved and reused next year if you’re careful with them.
8.Sell some stuff. Since plenty of new items will be coming your way, why not make room for them by selling old clothes, electronics, and assorted gewgaws and knickknacks? More to the point, garage sales and websites like eBay are an easy way to put some extra cash in your pocket.
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If you're worried that the holidays might derail your finances, a Legend Group advisor can help you get back on track for year-end goals, next year's goals, and beyond. Call and set up a time to talk today!