The holiday season is upon us. Are you ready? Besides putting up decorations and making your Christmas list, you need to make sure you’re financially prepared. After all, the last thing you want is to run up debt or struggle to pay your bills because you’re overspending.
In this article, we provide a few ways to help you start saving money now. From creating a budget to automating your savings, here are seven tips to save you money for the holidays:
1. Switch Banks
You might think all banks are the same, but they aren’t. Some banks have limited lobby hours or no way to access customer service staff via phone. Some banks don’t offer online services or an easily accessible ATM. Consumers have to find time to call or visit the physical bank if they have a question or concern.
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between banks is their hidden fees. For example, some banks will charge overdraft fees, ATM fees, maintenance fees, foreign transaction fees, and more. And while these fees make banks billions of dollars, they cause a great deal of stress on consumers.
Take a few minutes to review your bank’s policies. If you notice you’re being charged hidden fees, consider going elsewhere. According to Due, Chime, for instance, is a 100% online bank that charges no monthly account fees. The bank also doesn’t require a minimum balance, so you’re not charged for having too little in your account.
2. Review Your Finances
Take a quick glance at your finances and see where you currently stand. You don’t have to do a deep dive, but make note of your monthly income and expenses. Are you spending every dollar you make in a month, or do you have a good amount rolling over?
If you answered “yes” to the latter, you might want to consider moving that extra amount into your holiday savings account. But if you spend your entire paycheck, go ahead and review your expenses to see where you could cut back.
3. Cancel Unnecessary Memberships
While reviewing your finances, you might notice you’re signed up for memberships or subscription services you no longer use. In fact, you might not remember signing up for these payments at all. According to research, over half of Americans don’t know how much they spend on recurring payments. Approximately 71% of Americans admit they waste over $50 a month in recurring subscriptions they don’t use.
While $10 a month for unlimited music or $9.99 for free Uber Eats delivery might not sound like much, it adds up. This is especially true once you consider how much you’ll save by canceling those memberships. Think about it. Having Netflix, Hulu, Peacock, and Amazon Prime might seem necessary. But chances are you’re not using all of those services — why pay the money?
4. Automate Your Savings
If your income is relatively stable, consider automating your savings. This ensures you have all the extra money you need for the holiday season. It also holds you accountable so you don’t end up spending more than what’s necessary.
To automate your savings, use an app that connects your accounts and automatically moves money from your checking to your savings. You can also set this up with your employer, and have a percentage of your paycheck deposited into your savings account.
Before automating your savings, make sure you choose an amount that won’t make it difficult for you to pay your bills. Sometimes people overshoot when it comes to how much they can save. Don’t do that. While you want to put money away, you don’t want to make your life harder.
5. Have a Spending Limit
Did you know you can set a daily spending limit for your debit and credit cards through your bank? Having this setup will keep you from overspending and ensure you have money saved for the holiday season.
Keep in mind that if you choose this option, it’s crucial you have a good understanding of your finances and expenses. The last thing you want is to set a limit that doesn’t take your bills into consideration and causes an overdraft.
6. Look for Coupons
When you were younger, you probably watched your parents cut coupons out from the local paper. Not many of us still read the newspaper — let alone pay attention to the coupons inside it. Thankfully, companies have brought couponing to the digital space. This way you can save money on your items without spending hours flipping through flyers.
Honey, for example, is a free browser add-on that searches for coupons on your behalf. Simply download the extension to your computer and start shopping. Honey will find the best coupon codes available and automatically apply the discount when you check out.
A few dollars off your groceries seems small, but it adds up in the long run. The more you can save, the more you can spend this holiday season.
7. Avoid Impulse Buying
Many of us are guilty of buying items without planning (aka impulse buying). While you don’t have to plan out everything you purchase, you should plan most things. If you don’t, you’ll most likely end up spending more than necessary.
Before you go grocery shopping, make a list of everything you need. Make sure you look through your cabinets and refrigerators to make sure you’re not buying items you already have. Plan out your meals each week so you can stock up on what you need rather than grabbing what looks appetizing.
You should use this same method when you’re shopping for new clothes. Make sure you go into it with a plan and a detailed idea of what you need. While a new jacket sounds nice, do you really need to spend money on a new one when your old jacket works fine? Probably not.
Don’t go broke this holiday season! Use the tips above to help you save even more money so you can spend what you want this holiday season.