The easiest way to have an amazing new year is to finish this year strong – so you’re not picking up the pieces from day one! Thankfully, enjoying the holidays and saving money (or at least living within your means) aren’t mutually exclusive. And in this blog post, I’m sharing how you can do it without having to sacrifice a single pumpkin spice latte!
1. Set a goal
The best tips and tricks aren’t going to help you finish the year strong unless you’ve got a compelling goal. Why? Because we’re only willing to switch out of autopilot mode (and say no to temptations) if there’s a damn good reason to do it!
So whether you want to save money so you can pay off your credit card debt, go on an Insta-worthy vacation, start the new year feeling organized and stress-free, or have enough money to start a business – you need to know! Even better, come up with the exact amount you want and the date you want it by. This helps to bring it into reality and makes it much more likely to happen.
And honestly, if you can’t think of a specific goal you’re REALLY going to struggle. So pull out a pen and paper and take the time to get clear on what you want.
2. Decide what’s important
I don’t want to pretend that spending less money on gift giving is the only way to save money during the holidays. And cutting back on the things you LOVE should be a last resort when it comes to taking control of your finances, not the first port of call (even if the ‘experts’ say otherwise). So I recommend figuring out what’s most (and least) important to you about the holidays!
Whether it’s finding the perfect gift for a loved one, spending quality time with family and friends, going Pinterest DIY crazy, eating yourself silly, or recharging for the new year – create a list of the things you absolutely love the most about the holidays (being as specific as you possibly can). Then create a list of the things that aren’t so important to you. These lists will help guide you through the holidays so that you can save money and set yourself up for an amazing new year with as little sacrifice and deprivation as possible.
3. Be intentional
It’s funny how our minds work – the more money we spend, the easier it is to spend more (even if we’re trying to save). Which is why it’s so easy to get carried away, especially during the holidays!
I hate the word ‘budget’ so I’m not going to say it. But I recommend that you create a plan of how much money you want to invest into the holidays, taking into account how much you have available and what’s important to you (and if you don’t have enough money to do everything you want – it’s time to get creative!). Once you have your plan, add another 25% as a buffer (if you haven’t done this kind of planning before, it’s likely you’ll underestimate how much you’ll spend because you’re making plans for your ideal self rather than the real you). I think it’s really important to do this because it means that you can then enjoy spending this money guilt-free.
I also recommend creating a simple system that will keep you intentional. Whether that’s using the notes app on your phone to keep a list of your purchases, a daily check-in with your online banking to keep an eye on how much you’ve spent, or using cash to buy presents – it’s important to do something to keep yourself aware and on track.
4. Manage expectations
If gift giving is an area you’ve chosen to spend a little less money on this year, it might be a good idea to let your friends and family know in advance. This reduces any tension that might arise when you give someone a gift that’s not at the same level as the one you receive.
You don’t need to tell them the exact dollar amount you’re planning to spend on presents (unless you’d like to), but you might just let them know you’re not giving your ‘usual’ presents this year so they’re mentally prepared. This is another reason important to have a clear goal – it’ll help you justify your new approach to friends and family who are easily offended.
5. Shop online
Obvious, I know. But if you’re wanting to save money on presents make sure you shop online (or at least do some research before you hit the shops)!
Most retailers give you a discount coupon when you sign up for their email list (you can always unsubscribe later!) and it’s much easier to look through lots of similar items to find the very best (and cheapest) one for your friend or relative. Plus you can use websites like Shoptagr to keep track of when an item you’ve got your eye on goes on sale.
6. Don’t feel guilty
I don’t want to tell you where to spend money and where to save these holidays. All I’m really hoping to do is to get you thinking about what you really want and creating a plan to get it. If the holidays are YOUR time of year, don’t be afraid to enjoy them. But if the enjoyment comes with guilt, it’s not pure enjoyment. Find ways to spend during the holidays that leave you feeling amazing AND guilt-free. The future-you will thank you!
Have you got any tips on how to enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank? Let me know in the comments!
And if you want some more in-depth advice on how to be better with money, I share what’s worked best for me in the latest episode of The Smart Twenties Podcast.