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It’s never too early to start saving for the holidays.
Yes, it may feel early, because the stores that are open are just starting to decorate, but like all things savings, if you want to do it right, it’s best to start now.
We’re talking gift shopping, holiday travel, and the other costs that creep up at the most wonderful (and expensive) time of the year.
Don’t panic. If last year’s holiday season left you short on cash, you have plenty of time to do things differently this time around.
Here are our top tips to start saving for the holidays.
Plus, we’ll finish out this post with a little budget-friendly gift list to help you along.
Our top holiday saving tips
1. Plan your gift list now
There’s one surefire way to spend a lot of money quickly.
Wait until the last minute to get the gifts you need.
When it’s down the wire, it’s easy to spend a little more than you planned to check off your list.
Don’t put yourself—or your wallet—under that kind of stress. Make your gift list now.
If you’re feeling motivated, you can even start looking online now for big ticket items. The perfect sale might just pop up between now and gift-giving season.
2. Rethink your subscriptions and regular spends for the next few months
If the holidays are always financially stressful for you, start making changes now.
Put your gym membership on hold and try YouTube videos at home instead.
Learn how to make a good French press so you can skip the coffee shop for a few months.
Cancel any subscriptions you don’t really need.
Giving yourself the extra cushion with little changes can make a big difference in how you feel this December.
3. Clean out your closet
This year is all about the fall clean.
Specifically, use this time to go through all of your stuff.
As you make you’re making your donation pile, make two extra ones.
Stuff to sell
This pile should be for items you can sell online.
Check out Poshmark and thredUP for decent quality clothes. Turn to Craiglist or Nextdoor to get rid of other items for cash. The Spruce has a good list of other places to turn your unwanted items into money in your pocket.
Stuff to regift
Look, we know regifting can be considered tacky.
But think of it this way. If you have an item you don’t use (that’s in great shape, of course), you can give it a new life, reduce waste, and save money by giving it to someone who will treasure it.
Even if you don’t find the perfect unburnt candle for your aunt, think through White Elephants and Secret Santas, too. It could be the perfect chance to unload a quirky tchotchke or two.
4. Get crafty
If you’re really strapped for cash this year, consider making gifts. If you start now, you’ll have plenty of time to make sure they turn out well.
You can make:
And that’s just to name a few.
5. Set extra money aside
There’s quite a bit of time between now and the holiday season.
To save yourself from feeling the pinch later in the year, set aside any extra money (see tip 3). You may even want to open a separate bank account for this purpose.
Sock away a little here and a little there over the next few months. That way, you won’t have to pull from your savings to cover holiday travel or gifts.
Budget-friendly gift ideas to get you started
If you’re ready to fully DIY your gifts this year, good for you. But even a little extra elbow grease can help you save money.
Customizing a gift shows you care, even with a minimal price tag. Here are a few examples to show that with a little extra involvement, you can get fantastic gifts without a gigantic budget.
- A personalized family portrait. Scour Etsy. The options here are endless. For a little money, you can probably get a cute, custom portrait that matches your giftee’s style.
If you’re not feeling particularly inspired by any of the art options you see, you can also get a large print of a picture you know they love. Pop it in a frame and voilà.
- A self-care kit. 2020’s really been a year. We could all use some TLC. Set your gift receiver up for success with a little kit that includes a candle, some tea, cozy socks, and some bubble bath.
You can probably grab all these items for around $20. Spend an extra few dollars on nice packaging to pull it all together.
- Something to make them more eco-friendly. Waste is so out. Get your friend or family member a reusable straw, canvas produce bags, or the ever-popular Hydroflask (the 18-ouncer is just $30) to help them go green without spending serious cash.
The holiday season is just around the corner.
Start prepping now to save yourself major stress this year.
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