This time of the year many of us face financial stress. The holidays can be expensive and fees for the winter semester are due soon. As students, most of us do not have unlimited funds and it is important to try and not rack up additional debt. There are lots ways to save money around the holiday. Here are a few:
- Give yourself a spending limit – Figure out how much money you have to spend on the holidays. Don’t forget to including any additional costs you may face. Set an amount to spend on presents for each person on your list. Only donate what you can to charities, or even set a specific amount for this too.
- Keep track of your spending and store all receipts – Your budget does no good if you don’t track your spending. A spreadsheet is an excellent way to keep track of where you have spent your money. By keeping receipts you are able to return things if you need to rearrange your budget. Having your receipts organized also becomes handy in case the sweater you give your dad doesn’t fit and he needs an exchange.
- Cut back on extras/treating yourself – The little things add up. Avoid buying a coffee every morning and put that cute black dress back on the rack. If you are strapped for money, buying yourself gifts isn’t the best idea.
- Try cheaper traditions – Holiday traditions don’t need to be expensive. Trying watching a favourite movie or building a snowman with your family. Going tobogganing is always fun too. Make cards and crafts with your friends, or have a baking party. If you love to sing, find a group to go caroling with. There are lots of fun activities you can do around the holidays which won’t break the bank.
- Have a potluck – A great way to get your friends and family together is hosting a potluck. Ask each guest to bring one dish. You can enjoy some delicious food with great company.
- Look out for sales – There are always sales going on. Keep an eye out for these when shopping for gifts and food for holiday events.
- Start shopping early – There are lots of gifts you can buy all year long, so start shopping as soon as you can. This will also make your life a lot easier as you can avoid the jam packed malls.
- Save money throughout the year – If you know you will be struggling to pay for everything during the holidays, put away a small amount each month in order to prepare.
- Reuse wrapping – Bags, boxes, ribbons, and bows can all be reused for wrapping presents. These items can also be bought on sale after the holidays and found at the dollar store.
- Know when to stop buying – You don’t need to buy everyone everything on their wish list. Most people would be content with a simple “Happy Holidays” or card. Getting gifts for people always feels great, but make sure you don’t go overboard.
- Pay for things on debt or with cash – The best way to avoid debt is to put your credit card away.
Hopefully these tips help to reduce financial stress from the holidays. Remember to enjoy time spent with your loved ones and have fun.