The holidays, or Christmas, is coming up quick, and with that will be some hefty bills if you do not plan accordingly.
Here are some ways to save money quickly for the holidays!
- Make a budget. Start by deciding how much you think you can afford to spend, and work from there. Make a list of the people you need to buy for, and establish a value within the budget.
- Change banking institutions or change banking plans: do you really need the premium plan with free everything? When was the last time you used any of the specialties they charge you for? Consider downgrading your plan and bank the savings for the holidays (pun intended!).
- Do you have a credit card that offers cash back, or cash refunds for particular stores? In Canada, our credit card hacking is more difficult, but some stores that offer credit cards for use anywhere and give you a percentage back to spend at their stores are Canadian Tire, Walmart, Costco, etc. Others offer reward options that you can redeem for gift cards. Gift cards make great gifts, or you can use them like cash at those stores.
- Do a luxury audit. Do you watch TV or movie channels during the fall/winter, or are you too busy at work? Do you use the cross-border or international calling on your cell phones? Do you need all the gigs of internet you are paying for? Can you cut back on a service or two for a few months (or for good!)? Bank those savings for the holidays.
- Make your gifts this year. Think about an assortment of baking goods, gifts in a jar, an event in a bowl (like popcorn, drinks, chocolate, and a small gift card for the movies or a movie network), or other creative ideas instead of spending big bucks on something that the stores would overcharge for.
- Double up on your gifts: make a donation and gift the donation to your recipient. Calendars for charities are popular – it’s an inexpensive gift that donates to charity and still provides something for the recipient to open and look at throughout the year.
- Have a few challenge weeks leading up to the month you need the savings for: Meatless Monday, Soda-free week, bring your own coffee to work week, bring your own lunch to work week, etc. Make it a game and set aside the extra grocery savings.
- Do you have an extra room in your house? The next few holidays are centred around family (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, etc). Consider listing a room in your house as an AirBnB rental. If you are planning to be away for a week or more in the upcoming months, you could also rent out your home to a family on AirBnB. With the right insurances in place, you could earn more than your Christmas budget.
- Drive for Uber or Lyft. You can make up your own shifts (choose times that are safer for driving strangers, if you are concerned), and make a few bucks while carting others around.
- Sell old and unwanted items around your house. Electronics that no longer have a place in your life might be welcome in someone else’s (think replaced cell phones, iPods, etc.). Do you have clothes that you no longer wear and could be sold? Bridesmaid dresses can often be repurposed into Christmas party gowns, prom dresses, convocation parties, etc.
- Watch for great sales or clearance at your stores. Check places like eBay, Craigslist, and Kijiji for current values, and try selling them online. (Check the return policy in case they don’t sell, or repurpose into a gift!)
- Sign up for survey sites, like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks or PanelApp. You can earn cash from some, and others you can earn Amazon dollars. With just a few hours a week, you’d be surprised how much you could earn.
- Write a book and self-publish. By using Kindle publishing, you can have your work of art online and selling within 72 hours. Choose a niche that is popular and write. Fiction may take you a little longer than non-fiction, but it may sell better. Want to learn more about self-publishing? Read this.
Here are some of the books I’ve published on Kindle:
If I can do it, so can you!
- Direct Sales. Sign up for a company like Avon, Arbonne, Scentsy, Pink Zebra, Thirty-One Gifts, Stella and Dot, J.R. Watkins, Melaluca, etc. Many of these companies do not require a kit for start up, and if you are thinking about gift giving, that means others are as well. Why not be their source for gifts? The days of signing up your families to sell, or being designated sales areas are virtually over, and you can sell anywhere to anyone.
- Get a part-time job. Now is the time that stores are looking for seasonal help. Some stores will work with your schedule without complaint, and the added perk is a discount for most stores you work for! Make money and pay less for the items you buy. Win win!
- Sign up for a service on demand site, like Fiverr or Upwork. Do you have special media skills, design or editing prowess? People are always looking for affordable matches to help them out.
- Become a freelance writer. More and more content will be consumed with advertising and discussion of the best of the best this holiday season. Seek out advertisements online, like ProBlogger, to see who needs writing assistance.
- Start picking up odd jobs. Call friends who have businesses, and ask them if they need an assistant for a day or two. Offer to babysit (for money), walk the neighbour’s dog, and housesit for the snowbirds (people who go somewhere warm for the winter). Think like a teenager who needs cash: all the little jobs are still out there, and waiting for you to ask to do them!
- Offer to provide a service for your time: babysitting, cleaning, or something else that the recipient could use. Oftentimes, the idea of a “coupon” is deemed as cheap, but sometimes a gift of time or doing something for the recipient is priceless. A single mom would love a couple hours to herself, a senior would appreciate a couple hours of cleaning (moving furniture for a vacuum for example), or a friend who is tight on cash would appreciate an indoor spa day at your house, or dinner made for them.
- Consider making a date of it instead. If you regularly go for manis or pedis, consider making a deal with a friend that you two will go together and spend the day/afternoon together instead of spending money on each other. Memories are more special than things.
- Regift. I know this option has an “icky feeling” attached, however if you have something that you do not use or like, and and it’s brand new, why let it sit and be wasted? So long as the giftee was not the one who gifted it to you, no one is the wiser, you have not spent any money and cleared out some space in your house, and they are happy.
- Give with love: do you have coveted items in your home that you no longer care for? Example: My mother-in-law has a beautiful Christmas tree with all glass ornaments that I drool over every year. If she decides she doesn’t want those ornaments anymore, I would appreciate that gift so much more than anything store bought.
- Check the free section of your local classifieds, Craigslist, Kijiji, etc., for re-givable gifts. Sometimes people just give perfectly good things away because they are moving, don’t have the time to sell it, or simply can’t be bothered.
There’s Still Time
I hope some of these ideas come in handy for you, especially since the holiday season can creep up on us really quickly! Good luck, and remember to stay on budget.
Do you need a few extra dollars each month? Try a direct sales avenue, like Avon, Mary Kay or hundreds of others. Learn where to start with my MLM & Networking books, now available on Amazon.
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