How to save for the holidays

Holly Eberly, Senior Contributor

December is the perfect time to get in the holiday spirit by sharing joy and peace with those around you. For most, this involves receiving and giving gifts of all magnitudes. From buying new TV’s to emptying the change in your pockets for the workers ringing bells at the front of your grocery store, exchanges of all kinds are being made. Although these actions result in a “feel-good” manner, the consequences can be stressful. Constantly losing money for gifts, donations and Christmas festivities can leave you in need of financial help. Luckily, with the help of these tips and tricks, you will not be drowning in finances this holiday season.

One of the best ways to guarantee financial stability is to start the season with a healthy foundation. In times when money can start to become an issue, try spending less on yourself. Not only is it beneficial to hold back from going on shopping sprees or upgrade to the latest  technology during the holiday season, but even little things like eating out less can have a huge impact on the money in the bank. Saving up and being cautious about spending is an important step to provide yourself with an adequate budget. 

Similarly, another great way to increase your financial basis is to increase your income. The easiest way to make a little extra holiday cash is to simply get rid of things you no longer use. By selling the clothes you do not wear, the toys you no longer play with, or old furniture sitting without purpose, you can make extra money to put towards your holiday budget. Extra income can also be obtained by picking up side jobs such as tutoring, cutting grass/plowing driveways, or using your talents to teach a certain skill (karate, dance, etc.). Following these tips will provide you with a healthier budget to satisfy your needs for the holiday season. 

Once you have created a stable financial basis, create a budget for spending. Make a list of all the people you want to give presents to and all the Christmas festivities you want to participate in. Then, estimate how much money you are able to put towards these factors without placing yourself in a state of financial fragility.  Once you have determined how much you plan to spend on each person, do not go over the budget! Plan ahead and chose gifts in your price range. If you are concerned that your gift is not enough, do not spend more money and put yourself at financial risk. Instead, consider a “free gift.” These types of gifts include writing a sentimental letter, making something homemade, offering to babysit or dog sit sometime, baking cookies etc. Sometimes the thoughtfulness of “free gifts” is more effective than expensive gifts anyways. Thus, finding shortcuts and thinking outside the box will help you stick to your holiday budget.

Ultimately, assess your situation, make a budget and stay true to your plan. First, take the extra steps needed to provide yourself with a healthy foundation. Then make a plan and budget yourself wisely to ensure you are spending your money logically and at an acceptable rate. Last, find other ways to stay true to your budget by bending the rules with things like “free gifts.” Following these steps will help give you the organization and financial stability you need this holiday season.