The holiday season is a source of added stress for many people, and one of the biggest reasons for that is the fact that there never seems to be enough money available to do all of the things you want to do. You want to fill the season with special activities for your family and friends – perhaps a few fancy meals or even a short vacation – and you also want to make sure that you have plenty of money available for all of the holiday shopping you want to do. When you actually do the math, though, you might find that there isn’t quite enough money to do all of the things you’d like – and that’s when your stress level starts to become a bit elevated.
For most people, planning for the holiday season involves a good amount of prioritization. Since there’s only so much money to go around, you’ll need to decide which things you can afford to do this year and which ideas you’ll end up saving for the future. Before you start eliminating too many of the items on your list, though, it’s worthwhile to evaluate your current expenditures and determine whether all of the things you’re spending your money on are truly essential. When you do that, you’re probably going to find that there are several changes you can make to put some extra money into your pocket quickly and make the holiday season infinitely more fun in the process.
What can you do to increase your budget during the holiday shopping season? Here are some money-saving hacks that can produce fast results.
If you’re a smoker, it’s absolutely certain that cigarettes represent the most significant unnecessary expense in your life. Therefore, quitting smoking is the most effective way to increase your holiday shopping budget. You’re certainly already very aware of that fact, though, and it’s likely that you’ve already tried to quit in the past and weren’t successful. That’s exactly why vaping exists. Vaping is different from traditional nicotine replacement products because it delivers nicotine to the body through the lungs – just like smoking. Because of the faster absorption of the nicotine, most people find vaping substantially more satisfying than products such as nicotine gums.
Most importantly for the purpose of this guide, though, vaping is also significantly cheaper than smoking. Many people who switch from smoking to vaping end up saving thousands of dollars per year. Don’t forget – there’s no need to use a vaping device that delivers a high amount of nicotine if that isn’t what’s right for you. Low-nicotine vapes are available for people who have lower nicotine requirements, such as social smokers.
Stop Buying Expensive Coffee Every Morning
Are you the type of person who can’t resist buying a big, tasty latte from everyone’s favorite coffee chain on your way to work each morning? If you are, there are significantly more affordable ways to get your caffeine fix. The average cost of a Starbucks latte varies by location but typically hovers somewhere in the range of $5.00. If you buy one on your way to work each morning and work five days per week, that’s $100 per month — $1,200 per year! – spent on just coffee. Surely, there’s got to be a better way – and the better way is to brew your own coffee at home.
If you want your home-brewed coffee to taste as good as the chain coffee, it’s not just a matter of buying the beans – you’ll also need a way to grind and brew the coffee. The investment will pay for itself within a month or two. Unless you plan ahead, though, the savings may not be enough to provide a substantial increase to your holiday shopping budget. If it’s already late in the holiday shopping season, there’s an alternative to store-bought coffee that can provide instant savings: You can brew tea in the morning instead. Black tea isn’t as temperamental as coffee when it comes to brewing conditions, and it’s also substantially less expensive – often just pennies per bag. Switching from coffee to tea provides instant savings that can compound rapidly.
Suspend Streaming Services You Aren’t Using
If you’re like many of today’s astute TV viewers, there’s a good chance that you’ve become a “cord cutter” over the past couple of years and have begun using streaming content services instead of a traditional cable service. The problem with streaming services, though, is that they aren’t always as cheap as they seem to be on the surface. No single service has all of the content that you want to watch, so you probably have multiple streaming accounts to ensure that you don’t miss anything.
The problem with subscribing to multiple streaming services is that the costs can add up very quickly. That has especially been the case in 2023, since all of the major streaming providers have raised their prices this year. Even in the best of times, there’s a good chance that at least one or two of your streaming subscriptions are rarely used. During the holiday season, though, you probably have even less time to sit in front of the TV and veg out. Put some of that money back into your pocket by canceling – or at least suspending – the services you aren’t actively using.
Start Bringing Your Own Lunch to Work
Store-bought coffee isn’t the only unnecessary expense that you might incur during the work week. You also need to eat during the day, and restaurant lunches are significantly more expensive than coffee. Even if you only spend $10 each day on a sandwich and a drink, that’s still a total cost of $50 for the five-day week and $200 per month. Making your own lunch at home, on the other hand, costs about $4.31. In other words, bringing your lunch to work instead of going to a restaurant can reduce your daily meal expenses by more than half. Even if you only switch to bagged lunches for the holiday shopping season, you can still expect to save an extra $100 or so during the month – and when it comes to holiday gift shopping, every little bit helps.