With Christmas around the corner and the New Year quickly following, now is a great time to start thinking about a few simple ways to ensure your finances are in order.
In 2012, the average American spent approximately $925 on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Making November and December the “most wonderful time of the year”, but also, the most expensive time of the year!
How can Americans save some extra money during the holiday? There are a few simple things that can make a big difference in the long run. Here are our 5 tips to create more money during the holiday season.
1) Use Cash NOT Credit Cards
Research indicates that buyers using cash are less likely to spend more than their planned budget. Using cash also ensures that families do not go into unnecessary debt during the holiday season. It takes a little extra planning to use cash instead of credit cards during the holiday season, but will definitely pay dividends.
2) Refinance Your Home Loan
Why pay unnecessary interest on your home loan when interest rates are at an all-time low? Refinancing your home loan can have families hundreds of dollars every month and thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. This is a simple way to free up some extra cash and save a lot of money.
3) Create an online Christmas Card
Christmas cards have become a great way to stay in touch with families and friends. However, they can be VERY expensive! Since 99.9% of society now has some sort of online presence, an online Christmas card can save families hundreds of dollars and deliver the same message. You can also spend a little extra time and effort to add some cool effects to your online Christmas card that are not possible with traditional cards.
4) Assign family members to get gifts for other family members
If your family is a little older (out of the Santa Clause phase), try assigning each family member to buy a gift for another family member. This technique usually works out very well for the giver and receiver. The person giving the gift gets to experience the “giving” side of Christmas and the person receiving the gift usually appreciates the gift more knowing a sibling selected it for them.
5) Pay off debt instead of buying presents for husband or wife
Let’s face it, once you are married and have children, receiving Christmas presents is just not as cool as it used to be. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on presents for your spouse, have a conversation today to talk about paying off your debt instead. This obviously has to be a mutual decision between husband and wife (otherwise you can look pretty stupid with no present on Christmas morning!), but can pay huge dividends in getting your finances in line and possibly increasing your credit score.
The holiday season does not have to be a time to break the bank account and put Americans in financial stress. Follow these 5 tips and brainstorm with your spouse other ways that can help you save some additional money during the Holiday Season so you can truly think of it as “the most wonderful time of the year!”