As the year winds down, you may find your spending picks up. With holidays approaching, families may be preparing for trips to see their loved ones or they’re buying gifts. However, if you haven’t been saving beforehand, it can mean putting things on a credit card and being stuck with debt for a while.
Easy Ways to Save Money During the Holiday Season
If you’re trying to avoid breaking your budget and taking on debt, you need to have a plan to save more. The challenge that you may have – like many parents – is finding ones that give you big enough wins for the time you put in.
I totally get it. With two little ones at home, we are careful with our schedule. No one is looking to save $5 here or there by taking a ton of mindless surveys, but $5 -10 a day for hardly any work? That could be a winner as that’s translating to an extra $150-$300 a month.
No matter what your schedule is, I want to share are five ways you can save some extra cash.
Take a Money Challenge
One of my favorite ways to save money is by making it a game.
Saving money just to save can get old, so by setting a limit, either making it a weekly or monthly money challenge, I’m encouraged to stick with it. We’ve done quite a few money challenges throughout the years. It’s helped pay off our car loan early as well as knock out our student loans. Instead of going out with friends on the weekends, invite one another over. You can have themes and everyone brings a dish for a potluck.
Since the average dinner out can cost around $36 per person and a meal prepared at home is $4, you’re saving around $32 per person! If you do this twice a month, for a family of four, that’s an extra $296 per month that you can use elsewhere.
Not sure how much you’ll save? Here’s where a money app like Mint can help. By setting up and connecting your accounts, Mint can quickly pull how much you’ve been spending for those meals out.
As you take the challenge you’ll then be able to see the difference, which you should transfer into savings.
Doesn’t sound exciting, I’d admit, but taking on some seasonal work had been a pretty strong income stream for me. I had done retail while going full-time for college and having a day job.
Besides getting paid, being an employee also meant I could get certain things at a considerable discount. That can be a plus if it’s somewhere you intend on picking up gifts for your friends and family. Now is a busy time for retailers and delivery, so if you’re interested in earning some extra cash, check them out as they are hiring.
With more gig economy jobs, there are more options for you to pick up work that fits your schedule. Amazon, for example, is advertising that they offer flexible schedules so it doesn’t hurt to review the positions to see if there’s a spot that would for your particular needs.
You may also want to explore being an rideshare or food delivery driver. This time of year, people will be traveling to visit loved ones, meaning more opportunities to make extra money.
Extra Cash By Decluttering
If you have kids, there’s a good chance you have clutter. I remember when we moved into our house, how surprised I was at how much stuff belonged to the girls. While they have certainly enjoyed the gifts, at some point, they outgrow stuff. That can be a fantastic excuse to go ahead and free up some space in your house by selling some gently used stuff.
Throw in your gently used heels that you no longer wear, videogames, and tech and you may be collecting a good amount of money soon! You can go ahead and list on sites like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace.
If you want to streamline things when you sell, use apps like Decluttr, OfferUp, and Gazelle can be the way to go. Gazelle can be a handy way to get some cash back for your old cell phones while Declutter can be used for your movies and video games. This gives you the double win of cleaning your space and gaining some extra cash.
Become a Deal Spotter (without Clipping Coupons!)
Whether you enjoy hitting the stores or staying at home with your laptop as you shop, becoming a deal hunter is a necessity if you’re looking to save.
The first tip is to make sure you take advantage of price alerts. Use them so if something you were already planning on buying (key point!) goes on sale, you can snatch it up then.
The second tip I have about saving money while you shop is making sure you get the discounts you’re entitled to. With browser extensions like Honey, you can have it automatically scan to find promo codes that can save you a little extra. Adding these discounts over several purchases can mean significant savings into your bank account.
Know Your Town
Just because you’re focused on saving some money this season doesn’t mean you’re stuck at home. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have some fun. Find out what free and cheap events are being held in your town. You’ll be able to enjoy a day or night out without breaking your budget.
College bands, cultural festivals, and local parks are wonderful ways to spend time with your family or friends. If you’re not sure where to find these events, check your city’s site, which typically has events listed or your local news stations to see if they have a person collecting all that information.
Your Take on Saving More
Whether it’s by earning on the side, decluttering your space, or trying out a money challenge, having some extra cash that you can use is a smart money move. Choose which ones make the most sense to you and get started.
As you start saving make sure you have a plan for that money! Go ahead and start automating or transferring that money into a savings account, preferably one with a high-interest rate. Then when you need that money, you can then pull it back to your checking and use it. With your account seeing more cash in it, you can then direct it towards your big money goals or using for the holidays.
If you have a favorite way to earn and save, please share!