In a society where holidays are built on the idea of consumerism and overspending, we often lose sight of the basic principles—being with one another and enjoying loved one’s company. Between Thanksgiving and New Years, what sounds like a joyous event often turns into a month-long money pit. Between the presents, the crazy shopping sprees, the nights out, the dinners and the miscellaneous items, your pocket book often looks quite bleak by the time the New Year rolls around.
At the end of the day, though, it is entirely possible to enjoy the holidays without forking over an excess amount of money. Like everything else, moderation is key, and this is no different. If you retain a frugal mindset, stay within your monetary boundaries and avoid unnecessary situations, you can enter the New Year with some money in your pocket and a renewed mindset.
Here are five ways to save money during the holidays:
Set a budget
Before you spend a dime, you should set a budget for how much you want to spend from Thanksgiving to New Years. This should not just be a seemingly random number, though. It should be well-thought out according to your current financial status, the events you plan to attend, and the gifts you plan to give. That means that step one is visiting your local bank. For those of us from Louisiana, like I am, that can typically means a search for New Orleans Banks. Once you’ve got your starting number, consider the rest of the month. For instance, if you plan on hosting a Thanksgiving party, write a list of potential supplies and stick to them. Know who will receive what present, and budget an allotted amount of money for those unexpected occurrences that always occur.
Watch the spending sprees
Black Friday offers people the opportunity to save a substantial amount of money on everything from groceries to presents, but it also encourages unnecessary spending. Everyone likes 50 percent off items, but you don’t need that third plasma screen TV, and you certainly don’t need six new pairs of shoes – even if they are really cute.
If you do go shopping on Black Friday, create a list, check it twice and stick with it. The more you get away from the list, the more you will end up spending.
When you pay for something with cash, you tend to remember exactly how much you spend. With credit or debit cards, though, you can often lose track of whatever you are spending. Without the physical act of handing over money, you can often get swept away with the swipe of a card. For a small period, that money doesn’t exist.
Use cash when the opportunity presents itself. The more you can do this, the more mindful you will be of your spending habits. As an added benefit, you won’t have anything to pay off.
We often feel like we have to spend money in order to give a good gift. In reality, though, the best gifts often come about from creative gift-giving. TVs are nice, but they don’t share the same sentiment as a picture or a painting. Even a thoughtful letter can create lasting memories that normal presents cannot. The more creative you are, the better opportunity you have of giving something truly special.
The holidays are a time for giving, but that doesn’t mean you need to give all of your money away. If you’re lucky, you can enjoy the holidays without spending a substantial amount of your income. Happy holidays!
This guest post was written by Patrick Rafferty. As a business professional in the New Orleans area, he’s taken a particular interest in finding the most business friendly of the Metairie Banks. The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of any financial institution or bank. This article is intended to provide those reading it with information about matters of current interest. It should not be construed as legal or financial advice concerning a specific topic and should not be acted upon without contacting the appropriate professionals.