Saving money is hard enough but in the months before the holiday shopping season it seems almost impossible. There are so many expenses in the months before the holidays – – last minute summer vacations, school clothes, school supplies, fall festivals and holiday decorations. With school back in session, it seems that my daughter always has her “hand out” wanting money for one thing or another. Therefore, I am forced to find ways to save money for holiday shopping – – fast ways to save money. I begin each year with the resolution to save money each month for holiday shopping but never start until the end of summer. Here are my top seven last-minute ways to save money for holiday shopping.
Forego the morning java – This is a quick, easy way to save money for holiday shopping. At $5 per day, by giving up the expensive gourmet coffee each morning I net about $100 a month. My co-workers may not appreciate my caffeine-deprived mornings but this little nest egg will be great for holiday shopping on Black Friday.
Brown bag-it – The morning gourmet coffee is not the only expensive luxury that has to go when I am saving for holiday shopping. I treasure my lunch hour out of the office at a nice quiet restaurant with the newspaper or a magazine. However, that costs me about $50 each week. By taking my lunch and sharing a park bench with the squirrels, I rack up another $200 in a month’s time to help Santa make the holidays a little sweeter.
Give up designer name brands – From groceries to make-up and hair products, you can save a bundle if you give up your expensive name brand products. I will admit it was scary giving up my expensive mineral makeup; however, my co-worker said I looked just the same wearing my drug store foundation (and I pocketed about $25 just on that one sacrifice).
Become a TV-free home – My family has stopped speaking to me so it is very peaceful in my home now that I canceled our cable television. In addition, with all of the free time I now have on my hands I can work on my holiday shopping list. By canceling the cable television for a few months, I netted another $75 per month for my holiday shopping fund and, once my family starts speaking to me again, we can enjoy some great family time.
Pay it forward – I did this last year and it really did help with holiday shopping. Every time I purchase a gift card for someone throughout the year, I purchase another gift card in the same amount and stick it in my drawer (for some reason, my family never thinks to look in my underwear drawer for money). Last year, I accumulated about $300 in seven months without even thinking about it.
Forget the change; keep the bills – I think everyone has a penny jar; however, handfuls of change do not add up as fast as fistfuls of dollar bills. In the summer, my husband and I begin saving every one-dollar bill to put into our “change jar.” Within a few months, we save more holiday spending cash than we could in a full year of saving pennies.
Leave the “Dry Clean Only” clothes in the closet – I skipped wearing my dry-clean only clothes for one month and saved about $80 in dry cleaning charges. I did miss some of my wonderfully tailored outfits; however, the savings were worth not wearing them for a month or two. Not to mention, when I did pull them out of the closet it was like having an entire closet full of new outfits.