by Rochelle Belnap, The AZCLG
The holidays are nearly upon us and it is the time for gift giving, traveling, and hemorrhaging the mula. It’s just so easy to spend money! You want to visit family- that will cost you air fare, or lots of gas, plus food during the trip, and lodging, not to mention the pre-trip panning like fixing up your car or paying for pet-sitting. Then of course, there are the holiday greeting cards and … the gifts.
So how can you save money this holiday season? Here are are some tips!
Set a gift budget and stick to it! This is easier said than done, but you have to enforce it to avoid credit card debt and financial stress. You can stay within your budget by shopping early and getting the items on sale, by shopping at thrift and discount stores, by making your own gifts (who doesn’t like s’more pie in a jar?), and you can save money on wrapping paper by using non-traditional items (think Pinterest).
Avoid Peak Travel Days! Yes, this means you may be leaving your aunt’s house Thanksgiving night instead of the following day,but you can arrive a day or so early too. You can save hundreds or thousands of dollars in travel on a family of four. Also consider mailing your items to your destination instead of paying for luggage fees. But don’t forget shop around. There are so many travel sites itching to give you a good deal on air fare and rental cars.
Reduce your food budget! When travelling on the road, pack your food instead of stopping at places along the way to eat. For the bigger meal days like Christmas and Thanksgiving consider having a potluck instead of taking on the whole food burden by yourself. Tis’ the season for couponing for groceries as well.
How to Slash that Hotel & Lodging Budget. If you can stay with friends and family while traveling it could make for a nice, cozy and budget-friendly trip. You can also check for vacation rentals by owners and share the cost with other friends and family members if you are traveling in a group- you can stay in a house instead of a hotel for less than half the cost.
You don’t want to be paying for this Christmas until next Christmas! So good luck and I hope this helps!
Thanks for reading!