November 13, 2023

Easy Ways to Save Money this Holiday Season

By: Peyton Holliday

If you’re anything like the average American, you have noticed that prices across the board have gone up and inflation is on the rise. Living paycheck-to-paycheck is becoming more and more of a reality to many Americans. 

All of us have different living situations and circumstances, but at the end of the day there are budget cuts we can make that will help us be more financially stable. 

I, for one, have found that saving money gives me freedom for the times when an unexpected expense arises. A few months ago my car needed work and seeing the cost really took me for a loop, but thanks to my savings goals, I was able to fork over the money without batting an eye. 

I know many people do not have the same situation, but hopefully even with inflation on the rise, you can save a few hundred dollars here and there and build up an emergency savings for those unexpected expenses. 

Everyone has different things they need versus what they want. It is easy to become a consumer and just buy what we see and not make a note of how much money we are spending until the credit card bill comes in.

Scrolling through social media or the internet in general, ads follow us. We see ads for those shoes we want or the next iPhone or even the recipe we have been thinking about making. Ads are meant to entice us and draw us in, but if you change your mindset and ignore the ads, you can save yourself some money.

It is easy to think that buying a rubber ducky that looks like Abraham Lincoln for $10 is just funny and $10 isn’t that much, but that $10 can easily become $100 over the course of the month if you make 10 of those decisions. Right there is $100 you can save by not being a consumer. 

I have a tip that I tell lots of young folks who are just starting out after college that has helped me save money: don’t eat out by yourself. It is easy – especially when young and single – to just go through the drive thru or stop by a place to eat on the way home or grab a snack in the middle of the day. Easy as that is, it adds up over time. If you eat out every day and it is costing you at least $15 that is $15 a day you could be saving. Take the time to go to the grocery store a couple of times a month and make your own food and save some money in the long run. 

All of us have a habit – whether that is coffee each morning from our favorite coffee shop or a snack from the snack machine at work in the afternoon. It seems innocent enough to get into a habit and enjoy a coffee, but over time it adds up too. Before long you are spending $8 on a coffee in the morning, $3 on a snack in the afternoon, and then going through the drive thru on the way home and spending $15. That is $26 a day which when you add that up, it’s over $300 a month on just eating out. So if you only eat out with other people you are doing yourself a favor. If you love eating out, then you are encouraged to make friends and have a buddy each time you go AND you are encouraged to eat from home on nights when you are by yourself and you will save some money. 

Another way to save money is to look through your subscriptions. Do you watch Netflix enough to pay for the subscription? Do you still need that school subscription to your research archive? Do you still need a subscription to all the news sources? Be mindful of things and cancel the subscriptions that you don’t need. It will save you money – especially if you are paying over and over again for something you don’t even login to anymore. 

Lastly, it is nearing the end of the year and the holidays are around the corner. Spending money is so easy because you have people you are thinking about, advertising is so sneaky, and everyone around you is happy shopping and buying things. This is not to say don’t go shopping, but this is to say you can take a minute before you buy something and think about it. Do you really need that gadget? Do you really need a new wreath this year? When you can reuse something from the year before, it is an easy way to save money. On top of that most people won’t even remember if it is the same from last year. 

As inflation continues to plague our everyday lives, there are some simple proactive ways to save money and not stress about saying no to the important things. A couple of months without eating out and a couple of subscription cancellations can help you pay for that car issue or that plumbing issue you have been ignoring and enjoy the holiday season with a little extra in your pocket.