The season to start saving it $$$

Tips to help save you money during, and after, the holiday season

 

Savings account balance the morning of December 26: $0.00.

At least that’s what it feels like. Holiday shopping sneaks up and can quickly exhaust your bank account if you’re not careful. Why not try budgeting this season?

Small expenses such as buying coffee, eating out, or driving a lot can add up quickly.

Instead of spending the usual $5 on an over-priced caramel macchiato before heading to work, have your coffee and lunch at home. If possible, carpool with a classmate or co-worker who shares the same schedule.

Marine City resident Danielle Lee and her boyfriend are budgeting in expectation of their first child in March.

“We put all of our priorities and must-have’s first; wants always come last,” said Lee. “We don’t eat out often and mainly cook meals at home to save a few bucks.”

Here are a few tips to survive the holidays.

Try giving a homemade gift such as baking cookies or putting together a photo book. These are low-cost gifts that still show you care but won’t break your bank.

Not the crafty type? Make a list of who you are buying for and the maximum amount you’d like to spend, and then stick to it. If you have an idea of what you’d like to get, use coupons and research the lowest prices.

If you’re an online buyer, always look for any free shipping options. For those battling the in-store crowds; leave the credit cards at home and pay with cash. This will help avoid splurge-shopping.

Does a family member or co-worker want, or need, an expensive item? Talk to other family members or staff and split the cost.

For those with kids: are wish lists really necessary?

Say you receive a large wish list from your child, most of which are on the expensive side.  Not only does it take the genuine surprise away, it puts a lot of pressure on a parent to figure out how to make their child happy and “follow their list”.

Kids generally appreciate things more when they earn it. Why not start an allowance?

Save during Christmas, and all year round, by starting an allowance and teaching your child how to budget. But instead of handing out money weekly (or monthly), sit down with your child and talk to them about their short-term and long-term goals.  Kids learn about money management from their parents and showing them how to budget earlier in life can help curb frivolous spending.

Say your child wants a remote control car and the new Xbox. Combined these would cost well over $400, not including games for the Xbox.

moneyjarSet up glass jars labeled with their goals and contribute whatever dollar amount you and your child decide on every week that your child completes their chores. Not only do their chores get done, they have a daily reminder that they are working toward their goal. It’s a win, win.

Liz Whittemore

Photo Editor

Contact Liz at lizphotosesg@gmail.com