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Personal Finance + Career for the Ambitious Millennial Woman

5 Ways to Save Money This Holiday Season

5 Ways to Save Money This Holiday Season

Hard to believe the holiday season is upon us already. And with it, comes added expenses like gifts, travel, events, decor, and more. It can be incredibly stressful to figure out how you’re going to participate in everything, while also staying on budget. In preparation for your holiday celebrations, here are tips and tricks I use to get organized and save money.

  1. Outline your purchases

Gift giving is one of the most stressful (and expensive) parts of the holidays. Are you buying every friend a gift, or just a select few? Are you purchasing multiple gifts for close family, or just one? Get a game plan together of who you need to buy gifts for, where you’ll shop, and how much you’re willing to spend per person. Putting this info in a list on your phone is a great way to access the information while on the go.


2. Shop online for better deals

The actual shopping for gifts can be one of the most time-consuming and stressful activities during the holidays. But shopping online can save you a ton of headache — and money. Not only do you avoid packed parking lots, check-out lines, and swarms of people, shopping online can also save you money. I use sites like Ebates (free money, y’all!) to give me additional cash back that I wouldn’t have received in the store. It also searches the web for additional discounts I may not know about. Companies will often also participate in exclusive online sales, like Cyber Monday, which are not valid in-store. Even more reason to shop from the comfort of your own home.

Another hack: when I buy clothes online, I make sure to only buy clothes from retailers with a close-by retail location. That way, if the item doesn’t fit, I don’t have to pay additional shipping or return fees to get my money back. If you’re purchasing an item of clothing for someone – and aren’t sure whether it’s going to fit — check to make sure there’s a brick and mortar location near them (and request a gift receipt.)

3. Use Charlie to track purchases

One of the first things I tell my coaching clients is to figure out where their money is going. During the winter months, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’re spending with travel, gifts, food, decor, and more.

Perfect for when the holiday craziness sets in, Charlie is my new go-to tool for keeping my money in order – and it’s FREE. Charlie is a Facebook Messenger bot that syncs with your accounts to give you up-to-date information, your spending history for the month, and guidance about how to save. I had heard great things about Charlie, and once I tried it out, I wish I had been using it forever. It tracks all my spending not only by category — like food or entertainment – but also how much I’ve spent at certain places like Starbucks. It also helps me set savings goals based on my priorities (Charlie is currently helping me save $1k by the end of 2018), and gives me concrete ways to stay on track. They also help you lower your recurring bills, one of their most popular features (lower bills sounds good to me!) It fits in beautifully with my daily life, and makes tracking my spending easy rather than a chore. Try it out here.


4. Cookie exchange

Growing up, this was of the best ways to celebrate the holidays with family and friends without breaking the bank. Each person or family bakes two dozen cookies or pastries of their choosing, and brings them in a tin. Then each person goes around and takes cookies from each bunch, putting them in their own tin to take home. 2 dozen various homemade goods to share with your family, and a great way to catch up with friends.

5. Free events

From caroling to light shows to parades, there is so many exciting holiday events that are completely free. Take advantage of these events, or make up a free event of your own. I’ve started a tradition of inviting a few friends over, making hot cocoa, and driving around our surrounding neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights while we sing along to carols. It’s a fun and inexpensive experience we all love.

What are your favorite ways to save during the holidays? Tell me below!

Thanks to Charlie for sponsoring this post. I only work with brands and products I use and believe in.

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