As the calendar drifts into October and the stores begin to feature holiday decorations, your mind might be jumping to everything you need to do for the holidays. The holiday season is a fun time of year, but with gift buying for family and friends, and seasonal parties, the expenses can add up quickly. Try taking the following actions to help save (and even make!) money prior to and during the holidays.
1. Research gifts before the holiday season starts
Determine a budget for gift buying in October, or even earlier if possible, and start looking for gifts then. By extending the time you have to purchase gifts you're giving yourself more time to save money and find good deals.
2. Use cash when buying gifts
Leave your credit cards at home when you're shopping this holiday season. Bring only the cash you have allotted for your spending, whether it's for gifts for others or for that "ugly" Christmas sweater you've been eyeing. When you use all of your cash, you know you've hit your spending limit. This will keep you from spending money you don't have.
3. Make gifts
Instead of purchasing gifts, consider making some yourself. Gifts from the heart are just as nice (if not nicer) than gifts purchased at a store. Going to a holiday party? Bring homemade cookies or brownies instead of an expensive bottle of wine.
4. Sell unwanted clothes or gifts
Do you have clothes in good condition you no longer wear? Try selling them on resale clothing websites like Poshmark or stores like Plato's Closet. This will give you some extra cash, and will help clean out your closet! If you are still hanging onto a gift you received last year that may have missed the mark, try selling it on the Letgo app.
5. Earn money by taking surveys
Sign up for Swagbucks to earn gift cards for taking online surveys. Yes, it really is that simple. Gift cards can be from Amazon and Target, among others. Why not earn some rewards while comfortably sitting at home?
6. Sign up for credit cards that earn rewards
Take advantage of savings by signing up for credit cards that provide cash back rewards. There are several credit card companies that provide yearlong or seasonal rewards that build every time you swipe your card. Do your research, and be on your way to saving!
7. Save your change
Collect the leftover change you have from purchases in one location – kind of like the adult version of a piggy bank. After a few months of consistently saving your coins, you'll be surprised at how much you have.
Saving before and during the holidays doesn't have to be a stressful financial experience. Follow even just a couple of our above tips and breathe a small sigh of relief knowing that you won't be scrambling to pay off holiday debt in January!
To help manage your money, try opening a savings or checking account at North Country Savings Bank. Need help opening an account or aren't sure what the best option is for your situation? Meet with one of the North Country Savings Bank's personal bankers at a time that's convenient for you.