7 BEST WAYS TO SAVE MONEY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
It’s November, and it’s beginning to look a lot like Holiday Season already, but we have got just the right holiday shopping tips for you.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah and New Year, the holiday season is really long! And once it starts we get in a seemingly never-ending cycle of gift shopping, dinner hosting, house decorating, and whatnot.
After retiring from the military, you now have enough time to plan and participate in the festivities, and it is easy to go a little overboard. And if you ask us, we would say you deserve to go the extra mile and have MORE!
When we say MORE, we mean more family time, more scrumptious dinner, more love, and more fun. We, however, do not mean more money, more expenses, and more debts.
If you are planning for your shopping, these holiday spending tips for veterans will help you keep track of your expenses.
1. MAKE A DETAILED BUDGET:
Well, that’s a given. The first step to watch your expenses is to make a budget before you start spending. But what should your holiday budget look like?
Here are some budgeting tips you could use:
- Think of everything, and add your essential monthly expenses to it. This includes your mortgage, utilities, groceries, memberships, subscriptions, health, and entertainment.
- Now look at what you are left with, and set aside an amount that you will be spending this season.
- Now make a rough plan, and divide the amount for certain special expenses like gifting, dinner, preparation, etc.
- Once you have the basic layout, make a detailed plan and try to stay within budget.
- Chances are you are going to need more. But give yourself a target and stay within it, add a few hundred bucks for extra Knick-knacks.
2. COUNT THE LITTLE EXTRAS:
Now, this is very important. So many people ask us why their budget fails. Even when you don’t spend a penny above your designated holiday budget, you still end up spending way more.
Why does that happen?
Well, a big mistake a lot of people make when planning a budget is that they forget the small, seemingly ‘harmless’ expenses. Therefore, think of everything, the postage stamps, the wrapping papers, the extra decorations, your new dress, haircut, and gas for your road trips. While you are at it, keep in mind the Starbucks coffee on each shopping trip, or the last-minute take out in case of a dinner disaster.
Budgeting can be boring, but you should focus on saving your financial resources for getting a stable life in your new house. These holiday shopping tips can end up putting a dent in your budget. So, include them when setting up your holiday budget.
3. STICK TO THE PLAN:
Now that you have set a budget, and smartly included even the smallest things, the new challenge is to stick to the budget. Trust us, it’s not easy! When you are in the shopping aisle deciding the gift you are going to get for a friend, you may feel tempted to go a little above your budget. Why not? It’s just one thing. And before you know, the whole thing is already out of your hands.
That’s why we stressed so much about setting the right budget. Because once you have made it, make it your Bible, and don’t let go! Look at the bigger budget. Especially as a retired veteran, you should be more focused on spending the money where it matters the most, your business or veteran retirement home.
4. SEND E-CARDS:
Enough talking about the budget, let’s get to some serious saving tips now. Sending cards is a tradition we love the most. We look forward to sending and receiving cards each year. But here’s the thing, you can save a lot of cost of buying cards, and posting them each year by sending e-cards. You may even find free e-cards online, or websites that allow you to make a customized card for free or very low cost.
5. REALISTIC ‘SANTA LIST’:
You set a budget for gifts, but your favorite grand-daughter wants the big dollhouse. We know how helpless we get around those little ones, but stay strong. There can be a lot of times when you can splurge on a toy. A holiday season may not be the right time to do that essentially.
Ask your kids or grand-kids to make a realistic wish list. This will teach them the value of money. And on Christmas morning, when they rip the wrapping paper, they will be as happy to receive a doll as they will be with the newest tech gadget.
You can also choose to do the ‘secret Santa’ thing, so everyone can pick one or two people to buy a gift for.
6. PLAN A POTLUCK:
Getting the whole family, and your loved friends on a dinner table are what we all live for. But preparing dinner, and throwing a party can be expensive. Plan a potluck instead. Tell your guests that you will be making the main dish, and let others pitch in.
You will feel a lot relaxed when someone else will be taking care of the side dish, appetizer, drinks, desserts, and maybe disposable plates and cutlery.
It will save you time, and money. You will enjoy the festivity more, and your guests will also feel like a part of the whole party.
7. MAKE NEW TRADITIONS:
Remember the whole idea of the holiday season is to give everyone a reason to be together. Focus more on that reason, than the season. Instead of spending too much on traditions, go with something basic and fun. Something you all can do together, and enjoy.
Set a projector outdoors, and snuggle together to watch a favorite family movie with popcorns and drinks.
Take a road trip to a beautiful place, and do a potluck picnic. Cook on the spot and enjoy little disasters.
Watch a season special play together. Book theatre seats ahead, sit together and enjoy.
Whatever you choose to do, make it special with love. And each year, you and your family will look forward to it.
We hope these holiday shopping tips will help you when shopping for the holiday season. In the end, always remember to give more value to effort, love, and togetherness that is the essence of the holiday season. Budgeting tips will not only help you avoid over-spending, but they will also keep you focused on your target whatever it is. Money is important for a convenient life, but in the festive season, it’s the love and affection that counts. A simple thing that is done together or a nice meal shared with the loved ones will make you look forward to holidays every year.