6 Savings Tips for This Holiday Season

The holidays come every year and in a perfect world, people everywhere would budget for them throughout the year. If you haven’t saved up much or just need to tighten up your budget during the holidays, read these tips and try them out to potentially save hundreds of dollars.

Tip 1: Compare Car Insurance Rates

Now that it’s colder outside and you’re more likely to have a bit more time indoors, spend some time doing an online comparison for cheap car insurance and your other insurance policies, cable bill, internet and phone bill. There are always ways to cut down on these bills if you simply call your provider and ask – or do some comparison shopping.

What you save on car insurance you can put towards your holiday spending. It’s really easy to compare auto insurance companies online by just inputting your zip code and selecting companies to compare and you’re just minutes away from having a cheaper insurance policy.

Tip 2: Make A List Just Like Santa

Know what you need to buy before you start any of your shopping by making a list and checking it twice; just like the jolly old man. Make lists for gifts, decorations, food and travel including the amount of money that you have budgeted to spend on the category.

Look over it again to see if you really do need everything or if something important is missing.

To help from overspending, take cash out of your bank account and put it into an envelope for each category and then when it’s gone, it’s gone.

This way you won’t rack up credit card debt that you might not be able to pay off or buy any random thing that catches your eye while you are out shopping.

Tip 3: Do A Few Freezer Cooking Sessions

During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, people tend to frequent restaurants and fast food joints more than usual, often without budgeting for the extra expense.

To avoid the last minute calls to the pizza delivery guy, whenever you are preparing a meal, double or triple at least one dish, that can be stored in the freezer, for a later meal when you don’t have time to cook.

Making an extra main or side dish a few times a week can go a long way in saving money. Casseroles, taco meat and cooked chopped chicken, chili and soup are just some of the dishes that freeze well.

Tip 4: Send Christmas Postcards

Instead of buying the fancy holiday cards with envelopes and paying for a regular stamp, save yourself a bundle by taking some of your favorite photos and making photo cards through an online site.

These usually run around a quarter a piece when you buy in lots of 25 or 50. You’ll be paying less, overall, for cards and the postage and you’ll save trees by not using so much paper.

If this doesn’t appeal to you, make sure you stock up on cards for next year at the after Christmas sales where you can usually score boxes of cards for 75% to 90% off the retail price.

The same savings apply to gift bags, wrapping paper and ornaments as well.

Tip 5: Shop Online

By shopping online you’ll save time and money by not being out in the stores and tempted to buy more than you really need. Plus you can do it at any time and will save gas from not driving.

While you can still overspend online, it’s easier to compare prices of the things you want and around the holidays you can often get free shipping. Search for free shipping codes and plan to order things from the same company to get free shipping if there’s a limit you must spend before qualifying.

Tip 6: Remember the Reason for the Season

No matter which holiday you celebrate: Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa remember that the underlying message that the holiday gives.

If money is very tight, forgo the traditional hoilday gifts and hosting of big dinners, just spend time with your family making memories by watching holiday movies from the library, reading good books, playing card or board games and just enjoying the company of each other.

You can also volunteer to serve food or hand out holiday gifts at a homeless shelter or children’s hospital. Sharing your love and time with others who are experiencing down times is possibly the best gift that anyone can give–and it’s free!

As the holidays draw near, choose one or more of these to try to save you money. Not all of these will be applicable for everyone but the key to saving money is to do what works for you and stick with it. To maximize your savings, put the amount that you estimate having saved towards your debt or savings goal to give it a big boost!

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