The Holidays are almost upon us. Every year it is easy to get in over our heads by overspending during the holiday season, only to start the new year deep in debt. This year, with so many of us facing financial hardships thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, excessive holiday debt could be particularly burdensome. Here are a few steps to start taking right now to save during the Holidays.
1. Book your travel early
A lot of people are foregoing traveling at all this Holiday Season, even for Thanksgiving, due to COVID-19 concerns. Of course, that right there can add up to major savings. But if you’re still going forward with family visits, book your flight and/or accommodations as far in advance as possible. Prices tend to climb around the holidays and flight availability could be limited. If you book now, you’re more likely to not only get a good deal, but also find the itinerary you want, plus, since the pandemic, most hotels and airlines have gotten much more liberal with their cancellation policies to try to encourage bookings.
2. Start saving for gifts and other expenses
Even if you are scaling back on the travel, the parties, and the gift giving, now is the time to seriously tally up your anticipated holiday expenses, and plan for them accordingly. If you think you will spend $600 on this year’s holiday season, save $200 a month for the next three months. That way you won’t be scrambling in December.
Do not fail to consider the possible “silver linings” in the pandemic. The lifestyle changes imposed on you by the coronavirus crisis could actually be money savers. For example, if you’re working remotely, you could bank your commuting costs. Seize the opportunity to take advantage of those savings well ahead of the holidays. That way you’ll be able to pay for your expenses up front and avoid taking on debt.
3. Start scoping out sales
Being an organized shopper could help you save during the Holidays. Many people wait until Black Friday to start buying gifts, but you may find that certain items are cheaper before the so-called peak sale season kicks off. Make a list of the people you plan to give gifts to, and what you want to give them. Then, search for those items online so you can compare prices and see if a deal pops up.
To be sure, 2020 has been hard on most of us financially. Getting through the holidays with as little debt as possible, will help you start 2021 on a financially healthy note. Perhaps it will set the stage for a new year of smart spending and increased savings.
What do you think of these holiday saving tips? Are there any we left out that you use, that you would like to share?