There’s always a lot of reasons for the need to save money stat, but around the holidays, most of us feel the pinch on our wallets just a little bit more. If you’re looking for ways to cut back on your spending so you can afford to buy Christmas gifts, here are at least 10 ways to help you save money right now.
Eat from home only: This means no dining out, no buying lunch, no stopping at your local Starbucks for your favorite “double espresso non-fat milk hold the whip latte” concoction on your way in to work. It’s pretty easy to cook from home, it just requires a little bit more planning. If you spend an extra five minutes a week to quickly build out a meal plan, such as pasta on Monday, chicken and veggies on Tuesday, etc, you’ll be set and know exactly what groceries you’ll need to buy to tide you over for the week. No need for last-minute take-out. And pack your lunch—every day, no excuses.
Shop your cupboards: Another way to save money is to reduce your grocery budget. A lot of keep ample amounts of staple foods in our cupboards. It’s really easy to make a meal of brown rice, chicken and veggies. So use up those staples during this period of intense saving. Have beans for dinner. Have brown rice. Eat those leftover cans of soup you’ve been saving. Clean out your freezer and pantry before you make any attempts at grocery shopping. We’re currently in the process of cleaning out our cupboards and have had a couple of nights of pasta—not bad at all.
Cash in your credit rewards: If you’re in a bind for cash, take advatange of those credit card rewards you’ve been accumulating and use them to buy presents, or redeem your points for gift cards that you can then give out as gifts to the recipients.
Donate Plasma: If you’re in a super tight bind, go ahead and find your local plasma center to make a donation.
Drink water: Contrary to popular belief, tap water is perfectly safe in most of the United States. In fact, tap water is even more regulated than that fancy bottle of water at your local store that sells for about 300% of what tap water would cost you. Use a reusable bottle of water and take it with you wherever you go. No more buying bottled water, or soda, or juice, or anything else. Just drink water.
Limit your driving: No more random trips to the store. Every trip and every errand has a purpose. In fact, designate only one day a week to run errands and try to get them in all at once. This will help eliminate excessive wear and tear on your car and also help reduce your gas bill.
Change your tax withholdings: Throughout the year, I always claim 0 and have the max tax withholdings taken out of my check. I do this because I freelance on the side and so when tax season comes, I usually break even in the tax department—so no owing, and no getting a refund. However, when mid-November or December hits, I change my tax withholdings, which results in a little extra bump in pay for the last six weeks of the year. This bump in pay easily helps to cover some of the extra expenses the holiday season can bring.