Although December is not quite here yet, we must not forget the holidays start at Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, as we all know, marks the day before the most glorious shopping day of the year—Black Friday. We all see the Black Friday ads, and even make our plan of attack at each store, but there is nothing worse than realizing only days before that your budget is blown. So what have we learned? To save well in advance!
Start putting aside a few dollars weekly. For every $100 you make put at least $20 into your savings and do not touch it. You have about four weeks to save and that should get you way more than $100. If you are able to put away more money then by all means go right ahead. Putting aside is not just for Black Friday shopping, but also for Thanksgiving. I have started to buy fresh greens and freeze them for Thanksgiving. This way I don’t have to rush out and spend hours in the grocery store and break the bank. Keep in mind that most of the food items that are cooked during this time of the year have tons of coupons in rotation. Stock up on newspapers every Sunday, and even ask around to see if anyone is able to give you the coupons they won’t be using.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan ahead. Start looking for Black Friday, and special shopping trips now. If your local store doubles or triples coupons, ask if they are having any sort of ‘super doubles’ or ‘super triples’ event. You never know, your local grocery may be planning something special to help out during the holidays. ‘Like’ all of your favorite stores on Facebook so that you can get the inside scoop on sales and events. From time to time companies on Facebook even offer exclusive coupons for liking their company’s page. If you will be doing the cooking for your family, or perhaps just bringing a few dishes to a family member’s house then price your ingredients now. Make sure the item you are volunteering to cook is not so expensive that it virtually obliterates your budget. A $20 dish should be a entrée, not a side dish.
Find and Make Extra Money
Throughout the year my kiddos and I start a few different ‘money jars’. We use old cartons of Pringles, coffee cans, and even jelly jars. Every week we take our extra change and throw it all in there and we never count it, until the end of the year. This year we should have about $50, no thanks to the ice cream man this summer. $50 can be a down payment on a Christmas layaway, or even ten $5 gift cards.
Try signing up for survey sites such as Pinecone Research. Pinecone Research is great because the pay is $3 for every survey. Most sites have some sort of points system or enter you into a sweepstakes. I personally prefer money for my effort and not a shot in the dark sweepstakes entry. Offer weekend babysitting for a small fee. Advertise it as “parents night out” or even “shop ‘til you drop.” You would be very surprised how many parents would pay to shop without having to worry about their kid’s behavior.
Everyone knows the most effective way to save money is to actually save, plan ahead and find a way to make money. Save by sacrificing date nights and foregoing that pumpkin spice latte. Yum! Plan ahead by researching as early in advance as possible. If you are tempted to spend your saved money then start a Christmas account in January. Also look to Pinterest for creative gift ideas. Pinterest has everything under the sun from arts and crafts, to little shops that carry the coolest gadgets and gizmos. I hope I have helped you all be able to narrow down what you need to do before it’s too late. Best of luck to you!