It’s only September, but with the way this year has flown by, the holidays will be here before we know it! Whether you have a few people to shop for, or a lot, you can create a budget and stick to it using our accounting advice. Now’s the time to start preparing (if you haven’t already) with these easy-to-follow tips for saving money. Don’t forget to share this with others on your list, so you can all have a wonderful holiday season!
Start a Spending Freeze
When you know you have something big coming up (like the holidays), it’s best to institute a “no spending” policy for a month or two. This doesn’t mean you put your regular bills on pause, but rather hold off on unnecessary spending for a while. Try making your coffee at home as opposed to buying that $4 cup at Starbucks. Or packing your lunch instead of going out to eat multiple times throughout the week. Of course, there will still be occasions where you’ll need to get together with your friends/family, but a well-chosen Groupon or a potluck gathering can drastically reduce your costs.
As for all of those “treat yourself” items, add them to your wish list! After all, your friends and family will soon be looking for the perfect gift ideas for you. Make it easier on them by letting them know what you really want. Waiting a month or two to get them won’t be that bad. Trust us!
Use your Points
Rewards points are a great way to earn extra money for the holidays. Whether you’ve currently got a credit card that allows you to amass these little cash back gifts, or you’re looking into one, saving them up for gift buying is a smart way to save. This concept is growing, so you might even collect rewards just for paying your cable/phone bill! There are also programs that offer these points in exchange for recycling electronics, like old cellphones, mp3 players, cameras, etc. Not only will you be reducing waste from these products, but also you’ll be able to redeem your points for new items or gift cards. Check out sites like MaxBack.com and RecycleBank.com for more information.
Shop the Sales
We all know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but there may be other end-of-season sales happening between now and New Year’s Day. Encourage everyone on your shopping list to come up with gift ideas sooner rather than later. Because once you know what you’re looking for, you can start scoping out the sales! While it rarely pays to wait until the last minute to finish your holiday shopping, if you can swing moving your celebration back a few days you could save a lot. By hosting your family or friend gift exchanges after Christmas, you’re able to take advantage of the massive sales that start December 26th. These are known to be even better than Black Friday, so put off buying winter clothes and Christmas-themed presents until then (if you can)!
Honestly, you don’t even have to spend a lot to be a great gift giver. The success of platforms like Etsy shows how popular homemade items are today. Flex those DIY muscles and give something truly personal this holiday season! If your passion is photography, take some candid shots and try building your own frames. Take your graphic design skills and create a template for your best friend’s latest blog. For all of those talented woodworkers, reclaim materials from your local resources and use them to create a one-of-a-kind coffee table or shelving unit! Whatever your individual talents, take the time to make something personal for your loved ones and save a little bit of money.
At ENSO Accounting, we’re always looking for innovative solutions to help save you money. Even if that means helping you find ways to budget for the upcoming holidays! These are just a few of the tips we’ve found useful recently, but there are dozens of other ways to remain financially on track while treating your family and friends to meaningful gifts. Let us know how else we can help you improve your personal accounting practices.