Accelerate Your Holiday Savings

How to Accelerate Your Holiday Savings

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How would you like to enjoy your holidays? As we move into November, Brian and I are looking forward to slowing down. This will be our first slow holiday season together. Despite my intentions of creating quiet holidays, they’ve always been the busiest and most challenging times of the year for me at work. For 16 years, I did the best I could to choose a cheery holiday disposition. I’ve since resigned and am grateful to be spending the holidays the way I choose.

So, what does this mean for us? It means that we are choosing to be selective with our holiday funds, goals, and time. As we look ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas, Brian and I are making money moves to make the holidays what we want. Whether you prefer joyful holiday chaos, simple and quiet celebrations, or something in between, it never hurts to pad your wallet and find ways to build your holiday savings.

Review Your Current Monthly Budget

Take a peek at your current month-to-month budget. If it’s been a while since you’ve really reviewed your expenses, you might be surprised at where you can cut a few corners. Any amount of money saved, temporarily or permanently, can be put towards your holiday fun and future goals.

In the past, Brian and I experienced a bit of lifestyle creep, in which we dined out to the tune of $100-$200 per meal, two or three times a week. Ouch! We nipped that extra spending in the bud. Our lifestyles have since changed, and we’ve been more purposeful with our spending.

However, with the onset and ongoing inflation, expenses can easily get out of hand. Review your budget to see if you can afford to pocket a few extra dollars for your holiday spending.

  • Trade in brand-name labels for generic
  • Shop grocery store weekly ads and different locations
  • Reign in discretionary spending for a month or two (dining out, entertainment, etc.)
  • Opt out of pesky subscriptions that you are not really using

Open a High Yield Savings Account

If you don’t have a high yield savings account (HYSA), it’s a great time to open one! The rates are some of the most competitive they have been in a while. HYSAs can earn up to 4% of your savings. While they have a few limitations to consider, such as withdrawal limits and lack of deposit options, they offer a more substantial return than your standard checking or savings account.

Consider moving your money into a HYSA for a little extra padding to your savings.

Maximize Cash Back and Credit Card Rewards

Stretch your dollars with cash back or credit card rewards. You can apply your rewards to offset the cost of gifts and other holiday expenses. Alternatively, you can earn and accumulate rewards for eligible purchases through specific vendors or programs. Pay attention to multiplier opportunities for ways to maximize your reward earnings!

Utilizing cash back and credit card rewards can feel like a great “hack”. It offers a resourceful way to accelerate savings through offsetting expenses incurred on everyday purchases.

New Bank Account or Credit Card Bonus

If you’re looking to score some spare (and relatively easy) change, take a gander at current bank account and credit card sign-up promotions. If your financial situation allows for it and you have the discipline to understand the terms, open a new account or credit card with a sign-up offer.

Simply follow the sign-up requirements to cash in on a sweet little bonus!

With promotions ranging from reward points to hundreds of dollars, you can find yourself sitting pretty with minimal effort. Within the last year, Brian and I have scored a few hundred dollars in credit card bonuses!

Consider Your Workplace Bonus

Do you receive an employee bonus? If holiday expenses feel a little too hefty, consider socking away a percentage of your bonus to build quick savings.

Extra Shifts or Part-Time Job

There are many seasonal positions available, some of which offer more flexibility than others. Take on a part-time job for a few weeks to earn some extra dough. Alternatively, you can also add to your savings if your current position offers the opportunity to work extra shifts for additional pay. Sacrificing a few weekends can quickly add up to a nice cushion.

Turn Clutter into Cash

Sell off items you no longer use or need. Do you have anything sitting around collecting dust? Well, dust that bugger off and list it online. It takes a bit of effort to create a listing, but if it’s well-advertised, then it could be well worth it!

I’ve had success selling previously owned clothing, accessories, media, and appliances through eBay, Poshmark, and Nextdoor.

Minimize Excess to Maximize Joy

Are you open to a more minimalist approach to standard holiday festivities? Take a moment to reflect on the excess of the holiday season. What is or isn’t necessary to you? What would you prefer to actually spend your money on?

I’ve previously mentioned that Brian and I have decided to forgo gift-giving, live Christmas trees, and committing to too many events. We’ve made our own traditions and decide how we want to enjoy the holidays.

If you’re interested in a more minimalist holiday, consider creating alternatives to waste and excess.

  • Gift-wrap with junk mail or free newspapers
  • Participating in a potluck versus hosting an entire meal
  • Make holiday/Christmas crafts and decorations instead of buying them
  • Agree to the gift of presence instead of presents
  • Create your own traditions

I know a family that opts out of a traditional Thanksgiving meal for a night of deep dish pizza. Holidays are what you make them. Find a tradition that works for you. Remember, you don’t have to spend a ton of money during the holidays.

Make Your List & Check it Twice

What are your expected holiday expenses this year? Make a list of those expenses and compare them to the things you truly want out of the holiday season.

The very first step in building any budget is to understand the reality of the situation. Eliminate the unnecessary. If your funds are falling short of what your holiday goals are, then find some ways to compromise. Utilize the strategies above to accelerate your savings and create your own joy. With patience, purpose, and practice, you will find yourself enjoying the holidays this year and next.

What ways do you choose to save for the holidays? Share your tips and suggestions below!

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