This is a re-post from last year, but I thought it was relevant as the holidays are quickly approaching:
I have some ideas and suggestions on ways you can trim your spending from now until the end of the year to help free up some extra money to spend on the holidays. Not every idea will be for you, but hopefully you'll find one or two that may help!
I really tried to come up with ideas that wouldn't be hard to incorporate in to your normal routine. Keep an open mind as you read on...
1. Hair maintenance: I've already talked about the free haircuts at JC Penney, but there are other ways to save on hair maintenance for your family. If you don't have a very short hair cut, you could try going a little longer in between hair cuts. If you normally would have gotten two haircuts between now and Christmas, could you get away with just one? If your husband has a buzz cut, could he cut his own hair? If you dye your hair all one color, you could dye your own hair with a kit from a pharmacy. They also have highlighting kits that they sell at pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens; if you're adventurous, you may try one! Someone I work with has her daughter highlight her hair with a CVS kit. Her daughter has no hair dresser training at all, she just follows the directions. Whenever this woman told me her daughter highlights her hair, I couldn't believe it! It completely looked professional!
2. Groceries: Can you spend just $5 less per week on groceries from now until Christmas? There are ten weeks left until Christmas, that is $50 that you can either put towards a present or your holiday grocery bill. $50 can go far when you're buying baking supplies and other holiday groceries.
3. Recycle bottles and cans: If you live in a state where there is a deposit on cans and bottles, don't just put them on the curb for the garbage men to pick up; put them aside and recycle them! They are worth $0.05 each! We religiously recycle in my house and in my experience, three garbage bags full of cans (not bottles, as they take up more room) nets me about $20. It takes 15-20 minutes to feed all the cans in to the machine, but $20 in 20 minutes is like making $60 per hour! I'll take that any day! Also, the people in my husband's office knows he recycles, so they regularly give him cans and bottles to recycle. Every day my husband comes home a few extra cans and bottles to recycle - all those nickels add up!
4. Save the ones: I've heard of people who put aside every single they get back as change. If you use cash often, this could be a great technique for you to build up a little extra cash. From the testimonies I've read about this technique, the people say they don't even miss the ones - it's an effortless way to save a little money!
5. Eating out: Depending how often your family eats out, can you skip just one meal out in both November and December and put that money towards your holiday expenses? Conservatively, if you spend $30 on an average meal out and you skipped just two meals out between now and the end of the year, that's $60 to put towards a gift, travel expenses, entertaining, outfits for the holidays, etc!
Even trying one idea should save you anywhere from $20-$50!