Don’t panic…but it’s already October? How’s that Christmas savings fund doing? If you are like most people..your yelling back at your computer screen and saying, “WHAT Christmas fund, Chrystie”? Whoa..ok, point taken! Well, the good news is..there is still time to save money for the holiday season…better yet, I’m going to give you 25 ways to save over $500 before Christmas 2014!
1. Pack a Lunch – Did you know that most people do NOT bring a lunch to work? Even though it’s the easiest way to save money! An average lunch including a sandwich, bag of chips and a soda costs somewhere around $9.50. We have approximately, 60 more workdays until Christmas this year, so if you brought your lunch everyday until then, you’d be saving a whopping $500+ dollars.
2. Use Coupons – Of course you can expect for me to say to use coupons. It’s the EASIEST way to save money on your grocery bill. Do me a favor, go to Coupons.com and print off the coupons that you think you’ll use. Even if you are an occasional couponer, you still stand to save $50 or more each month. Using coupons will save you at least $100 between now and Christmas.
3. Eat leftovers twice a week – Don’t you know that most foods (I’m looking at you pizza and chicken stew) taste better the second day? The idea behind cooking once and eating twice, not only saves you time in the kitchen but it saves you some money too. The average home-cooked meal costs somewhere around $1.50 per person. If you have a family of four, you can save $12.00 per week, or $120 between now and Christmas!
4. Say Goodbye to your Barista – This is a hard one, even for me! But since our main goal is to save money for Christmas, we are going to have to say goodbye to coffee shop coffee. If you are buying a coffee on your way into work each morning at a (very conservative) price of $2.00, that’s a whopping $10 a week or $100 by Christmas that you can save by brewing it at home and putting it into a travel thermos.
5. Sell your stuff – It’s time to take a hard look at your stuff! If you have stuff that you haven’t used in a year, worn in the last 6 months or can’t remember why you even have it? It’s time to get rid of it! Sell it on Ebay, Craigslist, or find yourself a local Buy & Sell Group on Facebook. They say that the average American has between $1,000 & $2,000 worth of goods collecting dust in their homes!
6. Don’t take your kids grocery shopping with you – Believe me. Don’t do it! Each time I take my kids grocery shopping with me, I end up with boxes of cookies and fruit snacks that I had no intention of getting. Not to mention the puppy dog eyes that I get when we get to the candy aisle at the checkout! Don’t do it..I’m not sure how much money you’ll save..but you will save SOME money!
7. Check the Unclaimed Money website – I periodically check this site to see if I’m owed any money..and you should too! I once found an unclaimed paycheck for my dad worth over $100.
8. Drink Less – I mean it. Let’s say you drink a single glass (once again being very conservative) of wine a night and a typical bottle holds 3 glasses. At $10 a bottle (I’m going to price this one using my favorite cheapo wine, Apothic Red) you can save $280 by not drinking at all. But heck..that wouldn’t be any fun. So let’s cut down our drinking to only weekends, Friday, Saturday & Sunday that would equal $70 bucks. You can save $210 bucks by ‘just’ drinking on the weekends.
9. Cut out unnecessary ATM fees: Did you know that the average ATM fee is now somewhere around $4.00? Yes, banks are charging you $4.00 to take out your own money! Robbery! Beat them at their game, but using a site or mobile app like Allpoint which locates fee-free ATMs for you! Let’s say you usually get charged once a week, that’s a savings of almost $30 bucks between now and Christmas.
10. Offer your services on Fiverr – If you’ve got a talent or skill that you think other people can use (and it doesn’t take a lot of time) try offering your services on Fiverr. Which is a site that allows people to sell services for $5.00! I’ve personally purchased lots of items on Fiverr, like keyword research for my blog, blog posts or the video intro you see in my Spend or Don’t Spend videos!
11. Teach a class – One of the ways that I made some extra money after my divorce was teaching in-home coupon classes! Women would have me into their home, invite their friends and I’d teach them how to coupon. I charged $20 a person and made a couple hundred extra bucks each month! If you have a talent, skill or hobby that you think you could teach a class about, check with your local Adult Ed office. Or if it’s too late to get into the program this year, try announcing your classes on Facebook and have your family and friends spread the word for you. (P.S. If you are interested in teaching Coupon Classes, I sell a class guide, right here)
12. Rent out a room in your home – This may be a tricky if you’ve got a full family in your house. But if you have an extra room in the house, above the garage or an empty in-law suite you can try renting it out on sites like Air B&B & CouchSurfing! Each of these sites allows you to upload photos, put a description of the accomodations and set a price for your room. People coming into your city can then cruise each of these sites and elect to stay with you, earning you some serious cash! This is a great article about how one guy used Air B&B in Las Vegas to make some money.
13. Bye bye Dry Cleaner – One of the cardinal rules of being frugal is to just NEVER buy items that need dry cleaning..because then you are stuck paying for your clothes every time you wear them..it’s like renting your own clothes! BUT if you do have some garments that require dry cleaning, you can use at-home dry cleaning products like Dryel for a significant savings!
14. Comparison Shop – Use a mobile app like Favado to comparison shop grocery store prices in your area. For example, if you are out of Peanut Butter, instead of running to your usual grocery store, you can use Favado to tell you which store has the best price that week. You’d be surprised, I sometimes find the best deals on Peanut Butter at the drug stores!
15. Get rid of your premium channels – I know it’s football season and you REALLY want the Supreme Football Package and in-home snack service (that doesn’t really exist) service that your cable provider is offering but at a price tag of $50+ a month, you are looking at a savings of over $100 by watching Football on ‘regular cable’. If the though of that is depressing, just think of the smiles on your daughter’s face when you give her that Disney Frozen Snow Globe she’s been wanting ;)
BONUS. Buy a bunch of Disney Snow Globes – I hadn’t intended on putting this one in here, but the fact that a freaking snow globe is going for over $200 on Ebay means it’s this years IT item! Stalk the Disney Store website for the snow globe to come back in stock $40 and buy as many as you can. Wait for it to go out of stock again and put them back up on Ebay for $200…that’s a whopping $160 profit on each one!
Now that you have a few ways to save big bucks for Christmas, I hope that you are inspired to buckle down and save some money! The last thing you want around the holidays is to be stressed out financially! A little motivation and organization are you need to save that money!
You may also want to check out, Why I’m only Getting my Kids 3 Gifts This Christmas