Money Matters Monday: Ideas for Increasing Your Savings During The Holidays
The holiday season can be very tough on even the most disciplined saver. It is very important to stick to the usual saving tactics during this time of year and even add some news ones to help you through a tempting time of year. Here are a few suggestions to not only keep you on track but also to increase your savings.
I have said this during every discussion of budget but it bears repeating – set a realistic budget. During this time of the year, your budget has to include any holiday meals or gifts that you will need to buy for family and friends. After you have set the budget, consider adding those funds to a prepaid credit card that will only be used for holiday spending. After that seek out deals and coupons for the items that you need to buy and set a goal to have 10% or 15% of your established budget available at the end to funnel back into your bank account.
December will be the last month in which you can make donations to charities for the tax year. Making donations to qualified charities can alter your taxes so that you get more back in the form of a tax return. Perhaps you can agree with some members of your family to do donations instead of gifts this year. Any extra money that you get in your tax return should be returned back to your bank account. I am not an accountant or a tax attorney so please look at your own tax situation before making any donation with the intent to alter the amount of your tax return. Also ensure that any charity that you donate to have the appropriate tax exemption status.
The next idea will not work for every family but it is something to consider. Set up a gift card swap or a wish tree so that fewer presents need to be bought and money can be saved by all. If that is not an option and you have the option of providing a wish list for the holidays, try to keep it practical. Ask for needs, not wants, and then take the money that you otherwise would have spent and put it back into your savings. Asking for gift cards is also a great way to save money but again be sure to take the money that you would have otherwise spent and put it back into savings.
As the New Year approaches now is a good time to look at where you are keeping your savings and evaluate strategies to increase those savings. Evaluate the interest rate you are earning on your savings and see if you can get any bonuses by transferring money from one account to another. See if the bank you are using has a “keep the change” option where purchases are rounded up and that extra money automatically is moved to a savings account.
Remember that although giving during the holidays brings joy, the bills after the holidays won’t and you will be much happier and at peace if you can maintain or add to your savings.
What are your tips and tricks for not spending too much during the holidays? Are you successful in saving money during the holidays?
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