It's holiday season and seriously I feel like all I do is spend money. Go to a free seminar? $10 donation. Run to Target for black socks? Walk out with $150 worth of crap (with no possibilities for return). Attend a holiday party? $20 to create a food contribution. I mean, I know I'm not alone, right?
My computer has been out of commission all day today and part of the day yesterday, so I've really had some time to think about this - ways to save for the holidays.
1. Throw a granola bar or some trail mix in your purse. Healthy, AND you don't have to splurge for the french fries at McDonald's on your way from store to store.
2. Make a list. Even if you add to it in the store, writing everything down makes me spend less. For example, I did not write down black socks, new black flats, or pink flats on my Target list before buying them, and now they have officially moved into my closet. Case and point.
3. Only go to the stores you need to go to. Yeah, I went to Target to help out a friend on crutches. Some friend.
4. Shop with a friend. Although this could seriously backfire (see Target examples), they can also serve as a good accountability partner.
5. Set a budget! I recently re-discovered Mint and set up a gift budget by identifying how much I wanted to spend per person and totaling it up to create the budget. So far, so good!
6. Cardinal rule of life: don't go to the grocery store hungry.
7. Use what you have! Get invited to a last minute party? Don't run out and buy something at the store. Dig through the fridge and find something creative. I have a Christmas party tomorrow night and I'm recycling vegetables from a dinner earlier this week and 1/2 a goat cheese log and calling it a veggie tray. And I had it all in my fridge!
8. Utilize coupons and stack stack stack! I have a $10 Old Navy card and a store credit AND a coupon for $15 off a $50 purchase. Most grocery stores allow you to use manufacturer's AND store coupons for the same item. Double savings! And for all my Kroger shoppers, FYI, Kroger doubles all coupons less than $.50! (I also plan out coupon use so that I am using coupons on top of sales, but that requires extensive planning that I don't always have time for, especially this time of year).
9. Try to do multiple shopping trips at once. I know if I go to 3 or 4 places in a day, I get tired just thinking about it and try to make the stops as in-and-out as possible, which means less impulse purchasing.
10. Share your tips with others - a little holiday spirit and some holiday saving never hurt anyone :)