12 Days of Holidays Savings Tips

We’re all familiar with the classic holiday song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” but instead of 12 drummers drumming and 11 pipers piping, we’re giving you 12 tips for saving this holiday season.

1.     Still didn't purchase your Christmas cards? Many sites such as ShutterflyWalgreensVistaprint and Snapfish are advertising up to 50% and more off on photo cards and some even offer free shipping. It’s not too late to get those cards out!

2.     Before you go out and buy new wrapping paper, tape and bows, check what you’ve packed away from last year. You may be happily surprised to find you have enough leftover to wrap all of your gifts this year too!

3.     Take advantage of unused gift cards you’ve stashed away. Not enough left in your budget to finish your holiday shopping? If you have unused gift cards from last holiday or another occasion, turn them into that extra cash you need by using them to buy holiday gifts for others.

4.     Need to entertain on a tight budget? Raid your pantry and your freezer before you head out to the grocery store. You’ll probably find lots of items to throw together some festive appetizers. Cans of chickpeas can be turned into a delicious hummus or seasoned toasted chickpea snack. Frozen baguette, cream cheese and herbs can easily morph into tasty crostini.  Fresh Gorgonzola and jig jam that will take the cream cheese crostini to an even more elegant level. Marinade olives and peppers and display in martini glasses. Dress up microwave popcorn with Old Bay and melted better or toss with freshly grated Parmesan. Serve one or two signature cocktails using items in your liquor cabinet. You get the picture. Take advantage of what you already have on hand as a way to save 

5.     Searching for some inexpensive ways to entertain overnight guests? Look for free community holiday entertainment. Many communities have free events that include activities such as caroling, holiday light displays, free holiday movies, sleigh rides and much more. Remember the fun of just driving around and enjoying the neighborhood holiday lights? Give it a try and end your ride with hot cocoa and cookies at home. Check your local community activity guides to see what’s happening near you.

6.     Budget. Budget. Budget. If you’ve already created a holiday budget, stick to it. If you haven’t, it’s not too late to make that list! Don’t be tempted to overspend, you’ll regret it come January.

7.     Save yourself a holiday headache! If you’re shopping online, be sure to keep your personal information safe. Update your antivirus software and be on the lookout for phishing scams. Avoid clicking on unsolicited emails and social media messages. 

8.     Shop with a credit card rather than cash or a debit cardA credit card provides additional protections in case of fraudulent transactions. It’s also easier to dispute any charges that you didn’t approve. It can save you from unnecessary losses.

9.     Check return policies before buying those gifts. If you’re buying online, do they offer free return via mail or UPS? Is there any type of restocking fee? How long do you have to return for a full refund? If you’re buying gifts, you want to make sure they can be returned or exchanged quickly and easily. You also don’t want to incur extra fees or added costs if you need to return or exchange items.

10.  No time or money for holiday baking? Many of your friends are probably in the same boat. Get a quick text out to them and plan a cookie swap. You’ll each make and bring just one kind, but enough for everyone to take home and enjoy for the holidays. It’s a great way to enjoy a variety of holiday goodies without having to buy the many expensive ingredients needed for making a large selection.

11.  Short on cash? Make some of your holiday gifts. Homemade jams, breads, cookies, candy, and other treats make wonderful and welcome gifts.

12.  Embrace activities that bring your family together without breaking your budget. Have a home holiday movie night. Pack a thermos of hot chocolate and go sledding, bake and decorate sugar cookies, read Christmas stories or make holiday crafts. You’ll treasure the time together and save at the same time. 

Most importantly, don’t sacrifice your savings to fund your holidays. If you really find yourself in a jam, visit your local credit union and inquire about a personal loan. Many credit unions, such as Spirit Financial Credit Union, offer fixed rate, fixed term personal loans that can help if you come up short on your holiday budget. A personal loan can also help if you find yourself in need of a way to consolidate higher interest credit card debt after the holidays. We wish you a happy and thrifty holiday season!