With the holidays just around the corner I have been on a mission to save money for gift shopping. I know it seems early to think about shopping for the holidays, but in reality it’s not. I have also noticed it helps financially to space out my spending rather than get hit all at once. Here are some money saving tips for the holidays.
- Meal Planning: Planning meals for the entire week really helps. I make a point to only go into the grocery store once a week, because if you go in more than that you spend more money. I find myself running in for milk but leave $50.00 later with milk, fruit, cereal, etc… all these additional costs add up. Check out Food on the Table’s mobile application. Plan your meals out and the app will help you find local deals on the ingredients.
- Bring your lunch to work every day. I save anywhere from $100 to $160 per month in comparison to what I was spending eating out before. We also limit our going-out to no more than once every other week.
- Shopping the local farmer’s markets is also a great way to save on produce. My favorites are Tower Grove Market and Soulard Market, but again, shop only once a week.
- Set a budget and stick to it. It is so easy to write a budget; the hard part is sticking to it. I follow the Dave Ramsey method and try to use cash rather than my card. It’s easy to forget the impulse drink or lunch when I swipe my card, but not with cash. Something about breaking a $20 bill just hurts me a little. Here are some tips from TLC on setting up your first budget. Once you get the basics down, Mint.com is a great tool to keep all of your finances in check.
- Shop resale: Currently I am in need of clothing since I have a little one on the way so I have been shopping Goodwill stores in the St. Louis area. I will also be shopping The Storklady Sale on July 25-27 for baby items. I always shop this sale for clothing, toys, and books for my daughter, and now I get to look for new baby items. This sale offers gently used items at half the price. It is definitely worth checking out. I sometimes even find new items with tags that I can use as gifts for the holidays. ScholarShop has two locations in the St. Louis area. Proceeds from sales go to benefit local students through The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis.
- Limit your driving by riding a bike or carpooling. Gas prices are increasing rapidly and this is often an overlooked cost when trying to save money. Bike St. Louis will give you some great information about getting around St. Louis on two wheels.
- Cancel your gym membership and take advantage of free events throughout the St. Louis area like the yoga under the Arch every Saturday now until September 28th from 9 am-10 am. Here’s a Facebook page dedicated to free yoga events around St. Louis.
- Take advantage of the tax-free weekend Friday, August 2nd through Sunday, August 4th, 2013. Clothing, school supplies, computer software, and personal computers are all tax-exempt. Some cities, counties and districts elect not to participate in the “holiday”. In those areas, you will still have to pay local taxes on your purchases, but you won’t have to pay any state tax on qualifying purchases. Here are the details of the weekend straight from the Missouri state website.
- The last thing I am doing is starting an envelope for holidays. What I am doing is withdrawing an extra $30 per paycheck and putting it away for holiday shopping, or in my case Black Friday shopping.
Do you have any money saving tips to start preparing for the holidays?
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