Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How-To Spend Smart Over The Holidays

The holiday season is upon us! 

Time for festive outfits, fabulous home decorations, super delicious cocktails and many hours spent laughing with friends and family. Unfortunately, the cheer of December is followed by the glum of the January credit card bill.

You can’t escape it; you can’t hide the bills under the bed and hope that the dust bunnies will destroy them! But if you are smart with how you spend over the next few months, you can actually come out ahead of the game.

Here are FIVE ways to save you a few pretty pennies during the holiday season:

1. For every purchase you make, put a dollar aside. You won’t notice if every transaction costs you a dollar more, but after a month of shopping, there will be a neat little pile of cash waiting for you. For example, let’s say you make three purchases a day x $1 for 30 days, that’s $90!

2. Use your credit cards. That’s right - use them, but be smart about it. Most credit cards reward you with points and you can earn a lot of points if you use your cards over the holidays. Redeem your points for gift cards to places you usually shop and once you use the gift cards, put the equivalent amount in your savings. Of course, this strategy only works if you do not have a balance on your credit cards and don’t use them as an excuse to overspend.

3. Use websites that will help you either get discounts or earn more points. For example: is an excellent way to shop and earn a cash back percentage on your purchases. A great way to double dip on rewards!

4. Enough can’t be said about budgeting and planning ahead. Countless books have been written on this topic. Make a list, check it twice and keep to it. Don’t get tempted by the shine and glitter of store displays, know what you have to buy and how much you are willing to spend. This will be the greatest gift you can give to your bank account this holiday season.

5. Play the Secret Santa game. It’s an old, but fun way to focus on just one fantastic gift instead of 10. Play with your friends and family. Almost all will be thankful that you suggested it as everyone will likely be trying to save a dollar this season.

These tips can easily be incorporated into your everyday budgeting and keep you ahead of the game all year long. Plus it’s the perfect way to save for next year’s holiday spending! 

Iva O. works in finance by day and writes the blog, Single to the Penny at night. Check out her website for more money saving tips!

Looking for more advice? Read our post How-To Save Money Over The Holidays

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