Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner – Christmas is 40 days away (from today), but who’s counting? For many, it’s the season of excitement and added stress – holidays plans, trips, shopping and spending. A majority of us forget to keep our wallets in mind and the season of giving easily becomes the season of more debt. Don’t worry because we’re here to help! Below is Part 1 of our collection of money-saving tips for the holidays.
Create a budget and stick to it
Look at the money you’ve collected so far from your ILWUCU Christmas Club account. Next, come up with a budget you are comfortable with and divide that by the number of people you plan to give gifts to. Include any taxes/additional costs and don’t go beyond this amount.
Start a gift list
Start writing down the gifts you have in mind for each person. Quick tip: Have each family member (including yourself) create a gift wish list. On the list, include your name, name of gifts preferred and an online link (if any) for each item. Email your wish list to those that will be shopping for you and have others do the same.
Extra: Reveal the your wish list during Thanksgiving dinner so that the process becomes a yearly tradition.
Take Secret Santa home
Apply the Secret Santa methodology in your household (among the adults) and exclude the kids – most relatives will want to spoil them anyways. Put all your family members’ names in a bowl and pick one name. Buy your gift recipient a high-priced gift – worth $100 or $200, or have Secret Santa participants choose a limit they feel comfortable with. Now everyone receives a high-priced gift and you dramatically reduce your gift list.
Cut down on the little stuff
Avoid the Starbucks runs, trips to the vending machine or local donut shop by making coffee at home and eating a good breakfast. And if you’re going to eat out, buy lunch and eat dinner at home. Lunch meals are less expensive than dinner. Every little bit counts.
Here’s a cool idea brought up by one of our very own accountants – thanks Helen! Start collecting recyclable items (plastic bottles and such) with your kids and ask co-workers/family members to participate. Then take a trip (or a few) with your kids to the local recycling center to collect your earnings. This allows you to teach your kids the value of a dollar while saving together for a gift or other holiday expense.
Extra: Take your cash to a rummage or yard sale. These types of sales usually offer a variety of unique items at very affordable prices.
As you can see, being generous doesn’t have to hurt you or your wallet, so enjoy the season. Come back and visit us Wednesday for Part 2 of this blog series. Happy shopping – don’t forget to take your ILWUCU Visa Debit Card with you!