Christmas is one season that sparks excitement and anticipation. It is time to come together as an extended family, decorate Christmas trees, exchange gifts, and generally have fun.
All these festivities require spending money, and, if you did not adequately plan for Christmas, you can end up spending more than you can afford leading to debts. Two of the ways you can prepare for Christmas is by buying gifts in advance or setting aside a Christmas saving fund.
But the golden rule is to start saving early. In this article, you’ll learn more tips on how to save for Christmas and be financially prepared for this expensive season.
Pack Your Own Lunch
Buying food from restaurants, cafes, or other establishments is one of the ways we spend money daily. The money you spend daily buying lunch may seem insignificant, but it adds up over time.
Make saving for Christmas easier by bringing a packed lunch from home to work with you every day. Besides saving money, the benefit of bringing your own lunch each day is that you get a customized meal cooked with your desired ingredients and in a satisfying portion.
Try Generic Brands
If you love buying a certain brand of milk, cereal, yogurt, spices, or flour, among hundreds of other items, switch to the cheaper generic brands to help save more money. Saving $1 or $2 on each item you switch to generic doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but it could cut your grocery bill dramatically.
It is small changes like these that make a difference and help you realize your saving goals. Don’t ignore these small changes because they add up to cause a significant difference.
Do Away With Cable Bills
A cable subscription consumes a lot of our money, and these days you can watch your favorite TV channels without incurring cable fees.
With streaming platforms like Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime, or devices and services like Apple TV, Roku, Sling antennas, and skinny cable bundles, you have limitless choices to watch your favorite TV channels. If an average person spends approximately $100 monthly on cable, they will save about $200 in two months for Christmas spending.
Cold Water Instead of Hot Water
Running the water heater is another huge bill that takes a big chunk of our monthly payments. You can cut this cost down by using cold water more often than hot. For example, using cold water to do your laundry will help your monthly energy expenditure decrease. You can also adjust the temperature on your dishwasher and always be sure to turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth.
Let everyone in your house know you need to cut down on the monthly bill and ask that they decrease shower times and temperatures if possible. Ensuring people use less water as much as possible will help cut back on the water bill too.
Most people don’t know that leaving electronics plugged in, even if not in use, consumes electricity. Even having a power cord plugged in consumes energy, called phantom energy, and many people pay highly for it without knowing.
Instead of complaining that you’re being charged for nothing, ensure that every device that is not in use is unplugged. A good strategy for this is to have electronics like televisions, sound systems, and DVD players plugged into a power strip that you just unplug so you don’t unplug each one.
However, for major appliances like your washing machine or oven, don’t unplug them as they pack a heavy voltage and can easily electrocute you.
Sell Off Unused Stuff With Apps
Instead of having lots of stuff sitting around that you aren’t using and don’t need, consider selling it for extra cash to save for Christmas. While each item may not be worth much money, you’ll be surprised at the total money you earn back.
Selling off items has been made much easier these days with various social media spaces and apps you can use. All you have to do is take a picture of the item, post it on platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, Letgo, Decluttr, or OfferUp, and wait for offers.
You can also try the conventional garage sale, but this way requires more work and time than the apps which are easier and more convenient.
Turn Off Air Conditioning and Heat
You might not need air conditioning all the time. You can alternate using it with opening windows and doors so stale air can move out and fresh air can come in. This way, you are saving on energy used by air conditioners.
Outside of winter, often homes don’t need to be heated. Save on heating costs by wearing more layers when at home. Avoid cold feet by wearing slippers or house shoes. A hot water bottle or heating pad may also be just enough heat to keep you warm.
Avoid Using Your Credit Card
Try as much as possible not to exceed your credit card limit in the months nearing to December. You can set another fund that you’ll use to shop in November and early December. Leave your credit card for last minute things.
This way, you are not likely to meet or exceed your limit which will lead you into debts. Also, avoid using your credit card for Christmas spending.
One of the best things you can do to prepare for Christmas is save money in anticipation for it. Start planning early, cut back on luxuries, reduce utility bills by turning off heaters and air conditioning, and cancel unused cable packages.