More Ways to Save Money During the Holidays

The holidays are over and a new year is beginning. If 2009’s economy is similar to 2008’s, your wallet will probably be hurting in the upcoming holiday season. Here are a few more penny pinching tips to help you in the years to come.

  1. Recycle – Have a lot of gift bags, boxes, tissue paper, etc. left over from presents that you received? Reuse them next year.
  2. Send Post Cards – Do not throw out those holiday cards. You can cut them in half and use the fronts as post cards for next season. Plus, you will save on postage.
  3. Use Newspaper – Keep newspapers throughout the year and use them for wrapping paper. If your recipient is a sports fan, use the sports section – especially if their favorite team is featured.
  4. Change Your Traditions – As my family expanded, it was difficult for members to purchase gifts for everyone. So, we decided to only purchase gifts for the children. After a few years of the adults feeling left out, we added a new tradition. On a small piece of paper, each adult writes their name and three gifts that they would like. Then we throw our papers in a hat and draw names. You can choose your dollar limit to fit your family.
  5. Group Purchases – If there is something expensive that you would really like to get someone, but you do not have the cash to do it, see if others will chip in.
  6. Budget – Does it seem like the holidays sneak up on you, leaving you financially unprepared? If you do not do your holiday shopping throughout the year, then try to budget throughout the year. In January, determine how many people you will purchase for and estimate how much you will spend on each person. Divide that amount by the frequency with which you will set your money aside. For example, I will purchase presents for 10 people at $15 each. That means that I need to save $150 (10 × $15) for the year. If I set money aside every month, not including December, then I need to divide $150 by 11 months to figure out how much to save per month. Thus, each month (January – November) I need to save up $13.64 ($150 ÷ 11) to ensure that I would have the estimated amount of money for Christmas presents. This small amount in increments is much easier for me to handle than one lump sum of $150.

With a little planning, you can take the financial worry and stress out of the holidays.