10 Money-Saving Tips to Celebrate This Holiday Season
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—except, perhaps, for your wallet. In addition to festive music, bright decorations, and delicious food, the holidays usher in a time of increased spending. In fact, the 2019 Bankrate Holiday Gifting Survey found that 60 percent of Americans feel pressured to overspend on gifts, social events, travel, and donations to charity. So, how do you take the pressure off yourself—and your bank account—while still enjoying the holiday season? Start with these 10 money-saving tips.
1.Track Your Spending
Thanks to easy account access, most people don’t track their spending—and that can cost you. Take the time to record every purchase you make in the course of a month and you’ll be shocked to see where your money is going. Something as small as your daily $5 coffee ends up costing you $150 a month, which you could be putting toward car insurance or your electric bill.
From streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Spotify, and Sirius XM to your gym membership and coffee-of-the-month club, your monthly subscriptions could be costing you big time. On their own, each seems like a reasonable expenditure, but when you combine them all, it’s easy to see what it’s really costing you. Take a hard look at your subscriptions and cancel any you don’t use on at least a weekly basis.
3. Buy Generic
Generic products often get a bad reputation, but if you read the label, you’ll find they typically include the same ingredients as name brand products for a fraction of the price. Next time you go shopping, try to swap out the more expensive name brand items for generic—you and your wallet may be pleasantly surprised.
4. Brown Bag It
It’s tempting to buy lunch every day at work, especially if your coworkers buy lunch too. It may not feel like a big purchase at the time, but even spending just $10 every workday adds up to $2,600 a year! Think about what you could do with that extra cash next time someone suggests going out. Packing your own lunch is not only more affordable, it is often healthier and helps you practice mindful portion control.
5. Unlock Cash Discounts
Need a haircut or manicure? Have work done on your car? Hired a plumber? Ask if they offer a cash discount. Many small businesses offer discounts for customers who pay in cash so they can avoid credit card purchasing fees. Just make sure to ask ahead of time so you can have the cash on hand when it comes time to pay.
6. Check Out the Library
The library is one of the greatest free resources people don’t take advantage of. Bookworm? Get a physical or e-book instead of buying everything you want to read. Movie lover? Skip the expensive streaming fees and rent a new release at the library. It’s not all movies and books though, many libraries also lend home improvement and gardening tools, cooking equipment, toys, board games, fishing gear, musical instruments, and more!
7. Go Green
Being environmentally conscious won’t just help save the planet—it will help save you money! There are a variety of small things you can do that will make a big impact, from switching to LED lightbulbs and turning off lights and heat in empty rooms to carpooling to work to save on gas.
8. Make a Grocery List… and Check It Twice
Grocery shopping without a plan can lead to expensive impulse buying for many people. Before you make your trip, review the weekly circular and coupon flyers and make a list of all your household necessities and ingredients for the upcoming week’s meals. Many grocery stores have their own app where you can add your list and access cost-saving digital coupons you won’t find in the mail.
9. Give It 24 Hours
You know that great, nonessential thing you really just have to have right now? Wait. Give yourself 24 hours before making any impulsive purchases and see how you feel about it the next day. If you’re shopping online, many companies will send a reminder email with a discount code to customers who add items to their cart but do not check out, so if you still really have to have it, you may be able to get it for less.
10. Borrow, Don’t Buy
Before you order that expensive stand mixer just to make cookies for the bake sale or splurge on the 20-foot ladder you need to put up your holiday decorations, find out if a family member, friend, or friendly neighbor or coworker already owns what you need. When it comes to items you don’t need to use regularly, you can save a lot by borrowing them from someone else.
Now that you know how to spend less while still enjoying the holiday season, it’s time to make the money you’ve saved work for you with a savings account that rewards you: FirstCapital Bank of Texas’ First Savings. Open yours with only $100 to kick off a very happy new year.