The Holidays are full of fun, great memories, excitement and unfortunately often times debt. Here are a few helpful hints for preparing your bank account for the upcoming Holiday spending and surviving the Holiday Debt.
1. Sell, Consign or Trash It
Earn some extra Holiday spending money by getting rid of items you no longer need, want or are simply cluttering your home. Sell your larger items on local Trade Groups, Craigslist or have a garage sale. Your kids outgrown clothing or clothing that no longer fits your “style” can be sold at a local consignment store or sale it online at ThredUp. Phones, tablets and laptops that no longer work or are being used can be sold to Gazelle for cold hard cash! For all of the items that cannot be sold but need to go in order to make space for the new stuff coming into the house for the Holidays I recommend either donating or trashing it.
2. Stash the Cash
Whenever you find cash in your purse or wallet, set it aside in a special Holiday piggy bank. Since I nearly NEVER have cash, I like to always request $10 or $20 cash back whenever I am at the grocery store. Then when I get home I put that cash hidden away in my Holiday savings. No one in the house knows where it is. Plus it is out of sight out of mind – making it easier to not spend on silly everyday items that we don’t actually “need”.
3. Cut Back the Excess
Saving money where you can now to make a little extra wiggle room for unexpected expenditures during the Holidays. This doesn’t have to be a forever change (although you may become accustomed to it and like the extra savings). Review your spending over the past few months and figure out where you can cut back unnecessary costs. This may be dining out, morning coffee’s or hobby/passion. Once you have identified the excess spending there are two different ways you can go about using the “cut back” method to help boost your savings account. First you can simply cut back and watch your account grow. Or you can figure out what average weekly/monthly spending for that category has been and then take that amount of money each week and put it directly into your Holiday savings.
4. Rewards Round Up
There are many ways to earn rewards to use during the Holidays. Whether it through using credit cards that allow you to use rewards (make sure you are paying these off every month or you are not really earning anything) or online survey and rewards companies, now is the time to start racking up those rewards. One of my favorite rewards companies is SwagBucks. Earning rewards is easy and you can redeem them for gift cards for Paypal, Amazon, iTunes and more! You can also sign up for online survey companies. These companies will pay you money simply for taking surveys, playing games or reading emails and giving your feedback! Finally I definitely recommend using online rebate companies like Ebates, ShopAtHome and TopCashBack that pay you cash rebates for shopping online.
5. Scout and Buy Now
Don’t wait until the hype of the Holiday Season to start making your gift purchases. Start scouting the sales and pricing now. The chances are you already have an idea of what you want to buy for close friends and family. If you see a deal for one of the items on your list I recommend picking it up now and save the recipe. If you pick up just 1-2 items each week from now until Christmas you will not feel the brunt of the debt. If you save the recipe and find a better deal later on the same item you can always return the item bought earlier and repurchase it at the lower cost if you want. However, you will still be spreading out your spending.