How to Save Money This Holiday Season
October is finally upon us, which means pumpkin spice, shorter days, changing clocks, and the mix of fear and excitement that the holiday season is almost here. It will start in just a few weeks with Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving for Americans and Guy Fawkes Night for Brits, with Black Friday immediately afterward, signaling the final charge towards Christmas.
With so many holidays and the biggest shopping days of the year just around the corner, it can be an expensive time for many. According to recent research, the average American household will spend almost $800 just on Christmas this year, including presents, food and decorations.
That’s a lot of money to have to find when you’re already under a lot of financial pressure. Thankfully, there are some ways you can cut back this holiday season without having to compromise on having fun.
The summer is great for spending time outdoors, soaking up the rays, and heading on long walks. The final few months of the year are often spent indoors, watching movies, playing games, reading, and taking part in other such activities.
There are plenty of ways you can save money here and still enjoy yourself.
Firstly, there’s no need to shell out for an expensive TV package from your cable company or a box set of TV shows. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video bring you all the content you could want at a fraction of the cost.
You can take it even further too, using the free trials offered by these companies to enjoy several months of free movies and TV.
If you have a particular interest, you’ll also find plenty of streaming platforms that cater to different niches. For example, if you enjoy playing card games, PokerStars TV and Twitch both offer a range of poker-related content. Or if you prefer Broadway shows, checkout BroadwayHD which lets you stream some of the most famous and newest musicals and plays from America’s theatre district.
Documentary lovers are also covered with CuriosityStream, a service from the founders of the Discovery Channel that carries documentaries and educational content from big names like Stephen Hawking and David Attenborough.
TV is not the only place you can save money either. Free accounts from Spotify and Deezer will give you all the Christmas music you could ever want, while free-to-play games like Call of Duty: Mobile, Candy Crush Saga, and Fortnite will give you hours of fun without the need to spend a penny.
We can be under a lot of pressure during the holiday season to spend oodles of money on gifts for loved (and not so loved) ones. Remember, it’s the thought that counts and not how much you actually spent.
There are plenty of great gifts you can make for someone, such as a set of framed photos of you together, a food hamper with their favorite snacks or some handcrafted jewelry.
If you don’t want to feel awkward if they spend more than you, consider agreeing a spending limit or organizing a secret Santa where a group of you agrees only to buy a gift for one person.
Greetings cards can also be very expensive too, so consider making your own or agree not to send them this year.
When you do spend money, remember to use coupons and get cashback through your credit card wherever you can to help cut the cost even further.
Whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, cooking dinner can set you back a small fortune, especially if you’re buying a turkey. While it may seem counter-intuitive, buying a bigger bird will give you plenty of leftover meat that you can use for several more meals.
You can either keep it refrigerated or put it in the freezer to keep for another day.
Doing things like making your own stuffing and gravy, and not buying pre-cut vegetables can save you a lot.
Again, coupons, promotions, and cashback can also help you save a little more here too.