Saving for the Holidays
I think everyone can agree that the number one worry for most people around the holidays is money. We’d all love to buy our children everything their hearts desire but for most of us, that isn’t possible. Plus, typically you don’t buy Christmas presents for just yourself, you still have your entire extended family & friends too! In our family, not only is there Christmas but also both my children’s birthdays are within a month of the holidays. Every year we have intentions of saving money for the holidays but it is challenging. This year we actually did!
Below are some tips on how to save money for the holiday season:
Put all those kids clothes to good use! How much and where you consign depends on the time you have available. Some places only accept so many items that are neatly ironed and on hangers, plus other restrictions (I don’t have time for that). Others, though they may not take as much or pay as much, you can bring in 2 totes full of children's clothes and within an hour or two have a check. This is my kind of consignment. Like I said, you may not get as much but something is better than nothing. You really need to do a cost / time analysis and chose the type of Consignment shop based on what works best for your family.
One of the oldest, yet easiest ways to save money. No matter what, at the end of the day, throw your loose change into a bucket / jar and never touch it again. It’s amazing how much you can save in the course of a year doing so. We barely carry cash and each year have a couple hundred dollars in change. Now if your a person who carries a lot of cash, you’re stash looks better than ours!
Just as consignments, selling on eBay is similar. If you have the time and merchandise in demand, it can be a gold mine. I don’t have a ton of extra time so I separate out the kids clothes that is in really good shape and from popular brands (Oshkosh B’Gosh, Children’s Place, Gap, Old Navy, etc.) and sell them in lots on eBay.
Watch for Sales
So easy, yet so few do it. Watch for sales, especially online. During the holidays, many of the items that are on sale in a store, are also on sale online, with free shipping. Save yourself the headaches of lines at the stores and the gas you’ll waste driving around to find something in stock. This year, it’s amazing how much has been on sale this week, before the crazy mayhem of Black Friday even arrives.
I’m not saying you have to become the coupon lady, but you should always check for promo codes or printable coupons before going shopping. Sites like RetailMeNot provide access to thousands of coupons and promo codes that you can grab within seconds. Literally! Make a list of where / what you’re shopping for. Go to Google and search that store and coupon or promo code and many more sites like RetailMeNot.com appear. Easy & fast. That’s my kind of saving money!
Cut back on Groceries
Now why would I single out groceries? In our household, groceries are our biggest killer. So in our efforts to lower our weekly grocery bill we took a step back and analyzed what we spend on groceries. It’s amazing how much groceries a family purchases that they could easily do without. Simple things like using generics. Now I’m not saying use generics for everything. I too have certain items that must be a particular brand. Such as I only buy Kleenex brand Kleenex and Cottonelle Toilet Paper. Everyone has something that they are very particular about. But watch on other things, like napkins, paper towel, baggies, etc.
Also watch sales. My toddler boy loves juice right now. So I buy whatever is on sale. He may have Apple juice for a couple weeks in a row but then all of a sudden Ocean Spray is on sale and he can have every flavor possible mixed with Cranberry. This is true for a lot of items. Cereal, fruit snacks, yogurt, pizza, etc. Just like loose change, savings do add up.
Create a Christmas Jar
We did not try this idea this year, but it’s on our list for next year. Every week, put at a minimum $5 in a safe place. Make it a habit. $5 / week for one year equals $260. Do $10 and you got $520. We are even debating setting up a separate savings account in which when my paycheck is deposited, a set amount gets automatically put into that savings account. Thus we can quickly get used to not having that extra $5 (or more) within the budget.
None of the above are new ways to saving money for the holidays but sometimes a reminder is needed as to how easy it can be to save. If you’re like me, I can’t start shopping in July for Christmas as I have no clue what my kids may be into by then. At least one new toy comes out or they have changed their mind by the time Christmas comes around. So spreading out the cost throughout a year isn’t very practical in our household. So we need to save.
Please share in the comments below how your family saves for the Holiday season!