Image via Flickr by verchmarco
While there might be a point when it’s too early to put up your Christmas decorations, it’s never too early to start thinking about your holiday budget. Preparing early is a great way to ensure you have a wonderful holiday season focused on quality time with family and friends instead of worrying about mounting debt. Use these tips for increasing your holiday budget now so you’ll be able to enjoy worry-free shopping and celebrating this season.
Cutting Everyday Costs
Making small adjustments to your everyday habits can have a big payoff when they add up over the course of several months or more. By cutting back in just a few areas, you can stash away some extra cash to use during the holidays. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Go through all your recurring charges to see if you can cancel any subscriptions permanently or temporarily.
- Use a programmable thermostat to save on energy costs.
- Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.
- Carpool to work.
- Reduce or eliminate your cable bill.
- Switch to a lower-cost monthly plan for your cell phone.
- Bring a homemade lunch to work every day, and cut back on dining out overall.
- Buy nonperishable foods and household goods in bulk.
- Make coffee at home instead of buying one at a coffee shop.
Research Giftable Crafts
Even if you don’t consider yourself crafty, there are plenty of homemade gifts you can create with a few simple supplies. These gifts are great ways to make sure you can give something special to your loved ones without spending more than your budget will allow. Making giftable crafts usually takes more time than picking out something at the store or online, so start working on projects early to make sure you have plenty of time to finish your projects before the holidays.
If you need inspiration, you’ll find plenty of crafty gift ideas online. For example, you could make cute DIY Christmas ornaments, pour your own candles, or learn to knit mittens and scarves. Edible treats such as candy, cookies, and roasted nuts also make wonderful gifts, especially if you choose stylish packaging like mason jars or colorful paper bags.
Pick Up a Side Job
While saving money is a common tactic when it comes to setting up a holiday budget, you could also look for ways to make more money. Save all or part of your earnings from a side gig to make sure you have enough cash for gifts and festive celebrations.
Look for opportunities that work around your schedule and tap into your interests or talents. Popular side jobs include babysitting, pet-sitting/dog-walking, driving for a ride-sharing service, becoming a delivery driver, and tutoring. You could also work on a freelance basis as a party planner, personal assistant, photographer, writer, or handyman/handywoman.
Remember that every little bit counts when you’re trying to save up for an important goal. Try using multiple tactics from the ideas listed above to save as much as possible for the upcoming holiday season.