With all of the wondrous things that come with the Holiday season, magical snow filled nights, homes lit by Christmas twinkle lights, and the smell of pine and homemade cookies, there is one thing that is never all that exciting… Christmas shopping. Even if you started your holiday lists early this year and planned out some truly badass gifts, if you’ve got no dough, all of those great gifts will never be more than a dream. But don’t start to freak out just yet, you still have a little time so start saving! Read on for some tips on how to save money for your Christmas shopping.
Start Cooking For Yourself
While you may be tempted to hit up your favorite lunch spot on campus, or your favorite sushi restaurant for dinner, eating out often could be costing you a lot more than you think. Especially if your eating out for almost every meal. Starting to cook for yourself will end up saving you a ton of cash (psst its also the healthier option)! Check out blogs, websites, and even your local library for some new recipes that make your mouth water. Or hit up your mom for the recipe to your favorite hometown dish. I’m sure she’d be glad to share. Start off with basic recipes like homemade mac and cheese, or go big and get your Iron Chef on. Either way starting this new habit will make your wallet (and your body) a little happier.
Trade Your Night’s Out For Night’s In
It is a pretty well know fact that most people are living for the weekend. Hey, I get it you work hard all week why not celebrate a little (oh who are we kidding, a lot) on the weekend. Well maybe because those nights our could be costing you a pretty penny! It may be time for a change of scene. Trade your night’s at that expensive trendy club, or hitting up all the new bars for a night spent on your couch. Sound a little boring? Make it fun! Invite your friends over, ask them to bring a bottle of wine, a board game, or their favorite movie. Or head out to a house party instead of hitting up the bars. You don’t have to suffer in solitude. Switching up your weekend activities can help prep your wallet for its upcoming shopping spree, and you won’t have to spend the next day wondering what embarrassing thing you did, or why you JUST HAD to buy those shots for the entire bar.
Try a Dry November
Ok, I know I just said you can bring some wine to your new found nights in but if you are really hoping to save a lot of extra cash, you may want to try nixing alcohol all together. At least for a month. Alcohol can be pretty costly and even if your only buying one bottle of wine a week (and we’re talking the cheapest one) that’s still and extra $20 in November that you could’ve saved instead of drank. Now image how much money you’d have if your not buying the cheapest bottles. If this sounds like something that is way to hard for you to do, then try switching off with your friends on bringing the alcohol. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save by Christmas. This is one of the best Christmas shopping tips!
Sell Your Unwanted Stuff
Got that one pair of boots that you can’t bring yourself to wear because they kill your feet? Or that old DVD player that you haven’t touched since Netflix learned how to stream? Or how about all those “beautiful” clothes you got last year for Christmas that you were suppose to exchange for store credit but forgot and now no one will accept them. SELL THEM! Try taking your unwanted clothes, and furniture to a local thrift shops and your unwanted electronics to pawn shops. If they don’t take them, post them on sites like Offer Up, Poshmark, even Craigslist. You’d be surprised at what’s in demand. You’l be getting rid of some clutter and gaining some extra cash.
Get A Rewards Credit Card
You should really only exercise this option if you’ve got some self control. Cash back credit cards can be a great asset…if they are used correctly. In short, you should never spend any money that you don’t have! So if you’re approved for a credit card with a $500 credit limit but only have $100 in your bank account, don’t spend more than you can pull out of the ATM! That being said, you can use your rewards credit card to make purchases that you were going to make any way and then use the money set aside for those purchases to pay off your credit card balance. Doing things this is a great way to rack up rewards points on your card. But please, please, please do not look to credit cards as a quick fix for your holiday budget. Do your research and only get one if you know you can be responsible with it. It can be a great asset for how to save money when Christmas shopping.
Check Your Bank Fees and Charges
Some banks have some pretty unfair fees and charges that you may not be aware of. And sometimes even if you do realize that their fees are a little steep, we may be too lazy to do something about it (I know I’m guilty). This is a big mistake! Switching your bank can actually end up being a very good way to save money. Think about it, do you really want to be with a bank who charges you ridiculous overdraft fees when you already are feeling a little tight? Or one that charges you a fee every month for not having enough money to begin with! Ugh no, get to switchin! Nowadays they’re are lots of reputable online banks that don’t charge monthly fees for account minimums, and they have reasonable overdraft fees (like making you only payback what you spent!). Everyone can get on board with that! Make the switch now so you’ll feel the benefits in your Christmas shopping cash flow.
Pick Up A Seasonal or Odd Job
Seasonal jobs are a fantastic way to make and save a little extra money for the holiday season. Got waitress or bartending experience? Look into serving or bartending holiday parties, people are pretty generous with tips around the holidays, especially at fancy parties! Any good with a camera? Offer to yourself as a photographer for holiday parties. If you’ve got intense flare for decorating offer to decorate homes and offices. See where I’m going with this? Lots of times there is a surge of people coming into cities around the holidays, so there is a lot of work to go around. Don’t be afraid to look into odd jobs you know may be lucrative! Hell, dress up as Santa and you can make a cool $100 an event in some cities! It’s fine, you’ll be wearing a fake beard no one will recognize you! Get your hustle on!
Now that you have to tools to save with the best of them it’s time to put them into action. Take the ways on how to save money and come Christmas you’ll be handing out badass gifts like a boss!