Sense & Centsibility Blog

Haven’t Saved a Penny for the Holidays? Here Are 5 Tips to Make up for It in 1 Month.

christmas presents

The holidays come with a cost, and it’s not just the gifts… it's meals, decorations, travel, donations, etc. Because of this, how many of us promise ourselves, "I am going to save for the holidays,” then all of sudden it is October, the holidays are right around the corner, and you haven’t saved a dime? Sound familiar? Me too. The good news is there are a few ways that we can make up for lost time.

Here are some tips to make up for that lost time in 1 month, and keep you from paying for the holidays into 2015!

Give it up!

Find something in your life that you can go a month without… eating out, gourmet coffee, Redbox, really anything that you don’t need and you would be surprised what you save!! For example if you get a $3 coffee three times a week from your favorite coffee shop and you took the next month off you would save $108. Just think what you could save if you cut out 2 things for the month.

Start a separate account

Now it is time to set up that savings account for the fun stuff like holidays, travel, hobbies etc. Decide how much fun money you want to set aside each month and set up an automatic transfer every payday. If you are paid twice a month and you put $20 per paycheck in that is $40 in one month. If your bank or credit union offers rollover savings you can save even more. Each transaction in your checking will be rounded up to the nearest dollar and the change will go into your saving. One month of this could get you another $5.

Out with the old

There is a saying out there that if you haven’t touched something in a year… it is time to let it go. Take inventory of the things that you are not using (baby/kid gear, exercise equipment, furniture) and sell it.  Have a rummage sale or sell it online using Craig’s list or community rummage sale sites on Facebook or Nextdoor. Not only will you have some extra cash but you can also reclaim some space in your home or garage. I sold a patio set for $75 and it only took about a week.

Ask for a better deal

If you can commit to some time on the phone there are savings in your future. Want to pay less for cable, internet, phone, auto and homeowners insurance…then ask for it! Do your homework, find out what the competition is offering for new customers then contact your providers and let them know that you are looking to spend less and ask what offers they are willing to give you to keep you as a customer. Get quotes for auto and homeowners insurance from competitors (make sure that you know what coverage you have so you can compare apples to apples) and make sure you are getting the best rates.  I know this sounds like a drag but I have done this personally and saved us $20/month on internet and $41/month on home and auto insurance.  BELIEVE ME… it is worth the time and this gift will keep on giving!

Cut it out

Cut coupons, and you will save! And coupons aren’t just for the grocery store anymore. Not only are there savings nearly EVERYWHERE but it is now easier than ever. There are even apps that will send you savings offers when you walk into your favorite stores. Some stores have their own apps just for sales like Target’s cartwheel app that allows you to build a list of savings before you go. You can also get offers for things like oil changes, gas, and restaurants, by simply visiting their websites. However, there is one thing to keep in mind… in order to save you must only buy what you need or would normally buy. If you buy things simply because they are on sale you end up losing at the savings game. Saving 25% on a grocery bill of $150 saves you $37.50!  If you keep searching for savings you will continue to save right through the Holidays and beyond.

Practice these 5 simple tips and you will gat a 1 month savings of $326.50... which is nice holiday budget! We want to hear about your holiday saving success stories so please feel free to comment and share.

Author Ashley Hagelin is a Financial Counselor at LSS Financial Counseling and specializes in Reverse Mortgage Counseling. Give us a call at 888.577.2227 to talk with a counselor today!