While it may seem a tad early to start talking about saving for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other special holidays, now is indeed the perfect time. Getting a jump start on planning your budget and even shopping a little early can really save you a lot of money so you don’t have to start the new year under a pile of new debt. We’ve rounded up some of the best, most tried-and-true holiday savings tips to take some of the sting out of your gift giving this year.
1. Plan your holiday budget. Use an online holiday budget planner to get an idea of how much you would like to spend this season. Factor in your income and bills so you can see exactly how much money you need to save for the holidays. From there, you can adjust amounts to your liking and see where you can cut the fat in your everyday spending. Things may get a little tight but having a plan will give you an extra sense of security.
2. Commit to one month of essentials-only spending. 30 days of completely cutting out non-essential spending will give your bank account a dramatic boost. You’d be surprised to see how much you spend on eating out and entertainment in a single month. Hunker down for some cheap at-home fun, pack your lunch and carry your own water bottle. In 30 days, you will be shocked at how much extra cash is left for you to dedicate to your holiday budget.
3. Stalk your favorite stores. Sign up for emails, subscribe to text alerts and follow stores on social media so you never miss out on a last-minute savings and flash sales. Plus, many stores offer discounts on your first order when you sign up for emails so now is a great time to explore new retailers to get in on great savings.
4. Start shopping now. Shopping gradually over a longer period of time will allow you the replenish your bank account faster. Plus, Columbus Day sales and Veterans Day deals can certainly help with cutting price tags on your holiday gifts.
5. Buy big ticket items on Black Friday. If you’ve got a couple show-stoppers planned on your holiday gift list this year, save those for Black Friday and Cyber Monday where you will see the best prices of the year on appliances and electronics. Sometimes waiting totally pays off.
6. Get rewards for recycling. There are many programs out there where you can trade in your electronics and other e-waste materials for cash rebates. Staples has a great recycling program, for example. Recycle Bank is another amazing program that gives you rewards points when you educate yourself about recycling and recycle everyday materials, depending on your location. These points can be turned into local discounts that can help you stay on budget!
7. Cash in those credit card rewards. There is no better time to take advantage of all those points you’ve been racking up, especially if they amount to gift cards. Whether you want to give them as gifts, use them to buy gifts or use them for yourself to save money during the next few months, they are incredibly helpful. Even a bundle of $5 gift cards can really add up when it comes to staying on budget.
8. Postpone the celebration. Who says you have to celebrate the holidays on the actual days? People reschedule their holiday events all the time for various reasons–births, vacation time, you name it. Why not do it in the name of savings? Buying gifts during After Christmas Sales and clearance events will save you a huge chunk of cheddar. Plus, you’ll have a little more time to save up and make this holiday season the best one yet.
Prices and Cash Back Percentages are subject to change.
Briana is a shopaholic whose newest obsession is matching top-and-skirt sets (but she also can’t resist a good jumpsuit). She loves rock music, horror movies and is an all-around pop culture junkie. She is, without fail, always down for karaoke. Her blog, Mamafierce, is a chronicle of personal fashion, body positivity and the adventures of motherhood. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three-year-old son and tortoiseshell cat, Divvy.