Preparing Early for the Holidays: 5 Steps to Get Financially Ready Now

The holidays are a time for giving, but they can also be a time for spending. It’s important to start preparing early to take advantage of holiday sales and get more bang for your buck. It’s never too early for a holiday budget, people! Let’s get into our top tips for holiday spending and saving.

Here are 5 steps to get financially prepared for the holidays:

1. Make a spending plan

When it comes to money, the holidays can be a stressful time. But it doesn’t have to be! With a little planning, you can make sure you have enough money to enjoy the holiday season without breaking the bank. The first step to preparing for the holidays is to create a spending plan, or budget.

Determine how much money you can spend on gifts, travel, food, and other holiday-related expenses. Then, create a list of items you need to purchase and allocate money for each item.

2. Start saving early

Like most people, you probably start thinking about your holiday shopping list a few weeks before the big day. But there’s a better way to prepare for the holidays.

Instead of waiting until the last minute to start buying holiday gifts, why not start saving now? By saving earlier, you’ll be able to take advantage of sales and deals and have a much better chance of staying within your spending plan. Plus, you’ll avoid the stress of trying to scrounge up enough money at the last minute.

If you’re unsure how to start saving early for the holidays, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Here are a few easy and straightforward strategies that will help you boost your holiday fund:

Put away a little bit of money each week.

One of the best tips to save for the holidays is to set aside a small amount of money each week. If you can put away $10 per week starting in September, for example, you’ll have saved $140 by the time the holidays roll around. And if you can manage to save more than that, even better!

Set up a dedicated holiday savings account.

Consider setting up a dedicated savings account if you want to get serious about preparing for the holidays. This way, you’ll be less tempted to spend the money on other things. And, if you have a specific goal in mind (like buying gifts for your kids or grandkids), you can set up a separate saving account for each person.

Take advantage of cash-back apps and websites.

Many cash-back apps and websites can help you save money on your holiday shopping. When you make a purchase through one of these sites, you’ll earn cash back, which you can use to buy more gifts or offset the cost of your holiday travel.

Cash-back apps and sites to try:

  1. Ibotta
  2. Rakuten
  3. Swagbucks
  4. Befrugal
  5. Honey

Shop at thrift stores and consignment shops.

Hear us out; this is a great tip to save more and spend less on holiday gifts. If you’re on a tight holiday budget, shopping at thrift stores and consignment shops can be a great way to find affordable gifts sustainably. You may be surprised at the quality of items you can find second-hand. And, of course, you can use the money you save to buy even more gifts!

3. Save on holiday preparation where you can

Another holiday saving tip is shopping around for deals. You’ll get the most for your money by comparing online and in-store prices and looking for sales and coupons. Let’s dive into a few additional ways to save on holiday expenses.

Food

Even if money is tight, that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on your holiday feast. With minimal creativity and planning, you can save on holiday food without sacrificing taste or quality.

Here are a few spending tips for saving money this holiday season:

Buy in advance

Certain traditional dishes won’t change, so you’re safe to gradually stock up on non-perishables over the months before the holidays.

Buy in bulk

This may not be possible for everything on your list, but it’s worth it if you can find items on sale in bulk. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also have extra in case you need it.

Make a list, and stick to it!

This may seem like common sense, but it’s worth repeating. Creating a list of everything you need before you go grocery shopping will help you stay on track and avoid buying things you don’t need.

Be flexible

It’s fine if you’re really set on a particular dish for your holiday meal. But if you’re open to trying something new, you may be able to save money by being flexible with your menu.

Travel

What’s the best way to save money on holiday travel? That’s a question we get a lot; here are a few spending tips you can use to make your holiday trip more affordable.

Buy in the opposite season

If you’re looking to save on holiday travel, one of the best strategies is to buy your tickets in the opposite season. For example, if you’re planning a trip for Christmas, purchase your tickets in the summer. This will often result in significant savings.

Take advantage of rewards programs

Many airlines and hotels offer rewards programs that can save you money on holiday travel. For example, some programs allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free or discounted travel.

Be flexible with your travel dates

If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you may be able to save money on holiday travel. For example, traveling during off-peak times can often result in lower prices. Spoiler: this could mean traveling on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, or even Christmas Day.

Use a travel agent

A travel agent can often help you save money on holiday travel. Travel agents have access to deals that you may not be able to find on your own.

Shop around and look for deals

When it comes to holiday travel, shopping around will only help you. Compare prices from different airlines and hotels to find the best deal.

Another great way to save on holiday travel is to look for bargains. Many airlines and hotels offer special rates during the holidays. You can often find these deals online or by contacting the airline or hotel directly.

Don’t wait until the last minute

If you wait until the last minute to book your holiday travel, you may pay more. Prices often go up as the date of travel gets closer.

Consider alternative airports

Another way to save on holiday travel is to consider alternative airports. For example, flying into a smaller airport near your destination is often cheaper than flying into the main airport.

Use miles and points

If you have any miles or points, now is the time to use them! Many often forget they can use their rewards to save money on holiday travel.

Be creative

Finally, prepare for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with creativity! Look for ways to save at the gas pump, including ensuring your tires are properly inflated. There are many ways to save money on holiday travel. If you’re willing to think outside the box, you may be able to find some great deals.

Décor

If you’re looking to save money on holiday décor this year, there are a few things you can do. First, try shopping at discount stores or online outlets. You can also look for coupons or sales. Finally, consider making your decorations instead of purchasing them.

4. Think outside the box

When it comes to preparing for the holidays, think outside the box. Many pressures we face during the holiday season result from traditions that might not fit our lifestyle or values. Consider homemade gifts, foregoing traditions, or giving experiences instead of material goods. You’ll save money and still be able to give thoughtful gifts. Celebrating a holiday on a budget doesn’t make it any less of a holiday.

5. Keep your overall financial picture in mind.

Remember that the holidays are just one part of your overall financial picture. Don’t let holiday spending put you into debt or derail your long-term financial goals.

Take a close look at your relationship with money.

Do you tend to spend when you’re feeling down or anxious? Holiday shopping can be a way to self-medicate. Be honest with yourself about your spending triggers and try to find healthier ways to cope.

Get a handle on your debt situation.

If you’re already struggling with debt, the holidays can worsen things. Take steps to get your debt under control before you start spending.

Don’t forget about the true meaning of the holidays.

Remember, the holidays are about more than just buying stuff! Preparing for the holidays on a budget doesn’t detract from the true reason we celebrate. Take time to focus on what’s truly meaningful to you and your family. By following these saving tips, you can avoid getting swept up in holiday spending and keep your finances on track.

Related Reads:

Tackling Financial Burdens During the Holidays

Why You Should Be Holiday Shopping… Like Right Now

Where to Donate This Holiday Season

Spreading the Joy Without Breaking the Bank

Ultimate Guide to Holiday Budgeting

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