5 Spending Cuts you Can Make Right Now
It's the holiday season which means it's the easiest time of year to spend loads and save next to nothing. There's your immediate family and friends to shop for, Christmas work parties to attend expecting you to make a donation to charity, and family gatherings to bring some sort of food dish making you run to the grocery store last minute to buy veggies and dip. On top of it all, larger bills such as car insurance have an inconvenient way of being due right in the middle of the most expensive season.
Just like that, your money grows wings and flies away with the falling snow.
Here is a list of creative spending freezes to pinch pennies and save a little extra cash over the holidays or any time of the year!
1. Go paperless
You know those cloth napkins you use only on special occasions? Well, break them out and make them feel more useful this year. Paper towels? Use a washcloth or hand towel next time there's a spill on the counter top or in the living room. Move your dryer sheets to the top of your cabinet and invest in a set of reusable dryer balls. (And by invest I mean spend $3 at target to get a set of rubber ones.) Decreasing the amount of paper products you use will save you in the long run.
All you mamas of babies out there, ditch the disposable baby wipes and whip up your own spray and use baby washcloths. With only a couple minutes of extra work, prepare your homemade baby wipe spray and go weeks without burning through the disposables.
2. Grocery freeze
Take a look at your pantry and plan a week's worth of meals around what you already have in stock. If you're missing an ingredient or two, find ways to make substitutions. I know there are always meals I can scrounge up with a little effort and creativity. Do you know how much you can make with pantry basics such as flour, butter, oil, pasta, and seasonings? A lot, my friend. It just takes a little imagination and if you don't have time or energy for that, scroll through Pinterest where there's tons of simple ingredient meal ideas for the taking.
3. Stay home for family game night
I know it's easy to want to go out to eat and see a movie after a day of Christmas shopping. You're already at the mall, you're tired and don't feel like cooking. But hey, you already planned your meals for the week because of tip #2 (wink wink) and there's nothing like relaxing around the fire laughing and playing board games with the family to re-energize you. Trust me, my husband and I have had many nights where we're exhausted, but the adrenaline we get from a simple yet competitive game of monopoly has a way of giving us an extra and fun energy boost. Doesn't that sound a lot better than possibly paying $100 or more for the family to eat one meal and stare at a screen in a dark theater?
4. Make your own stocking stuffers
While some handmade gifts still cost the same if not more than a store bought item, there are some ways to save money by making them. Take stocking stuffers, for instance. Usually the stockings get filled with random knickknacks or candy, so why not make them yourself? Last year, my husband didn't want me to spend any money on his Christmas present, so I made him a little scrapbook style storybook about our dog using envelopes and card stock scraps in my craft cupboard. I took our dog outside and had a fun photo session with him and turned it into a story. The gift turned out super cute and Brighton loved it.
Sometimes the simplest gifts leave the best impression on a person's heart and saves you money in the process.
5. Donate items and time instead of money
The holidays are a great time to give back. It's a season filled of thankfulness, giving, and realizing the needs and wants of those around us. However, giving back doesn't have to be about constantly dropping money in a bucket or writing out checks at benefit dinners. Don't get me wrong, those are great things to do! My family donates money to different ministries and charities throughout the year. After all, without monetary funding, many programs would lack the ability to make an impact on the community. But sometimes your own expenses may stretch you too far to donate money. So donate unwanted and unused items in your home. Not the worn out pair of jeans in your closet with a broken zipper, but how about the fancy casserole dish in your pantry that has only been used once? Or what about the sweater with the tag still on it? We all have items in our homes in great condition begging to be put to use. Donate them to your local homeless shelter or add them to a Secret Santa program. And while you're dropping off your donation, make an offer to donate your time as well. Nonprofit organizations are always looking for volunteers. So give of yourself and of your time. You won't waste a cent but you may just leave a lasting impact on someone else's life during this holiday season.
Holidays are meant to be a time of celebration and joy, not a time of stretching our bank accounts thin. These five spending cuts are only a few of the ways to save. I would love to hear of some ways you save during this time of year. Let me know in the comments below!
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