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6 Hacks for Saving Money This Christmas

6 Hacks for Saving Money This Christmas

Christmas is coming soon and hopefully, you’ve planned ahead and saved some money. It’s such a great time of year because the family gets together, but it’s expensive at the same time. In all honesty, you might not be spending a lot per gift but with 10 people to shop for it can get heavy on your wallet. I believe if you know how and where to save money when shopping, you can cut down your bill enormously. Over the years, I’ve compiled a list of money-saving hacks which I use each time the Christmas season comes around. With my family growing it’s important I start saving money right away so I can afford presents. Even if I don’t save as much as I’d like to, however, I can still reduce my spending with these awesome hacks.

I’ve also done some research looking for other great money-saving hacks online. So with my own ideas and more from the internet, here’s what we’ll be discussing today –

  • Plan for Affordability
  • Cashback or Card Benefits
  • Amazon Hidden Discounts
  • Look Around the House
  • Shop Abroad (not a joke)
  • Give to Charity

Let’s jump right in, and if you have some additional tips, please mention them in the comment box.

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1. Plan for Affordability

One of the biggest mistakes we make while shopping is getting caught up in emotions. This means we end up purchasing items we can rarely afford. This doesn’t always have to be the case. Ask yourself this question – Does an expensive gift really show how much I care? We often want to buy expensive gifts because of the sentimentality of the holidays, but then we’re scrambling to find ways to pay the bills.

Just remember you don’t need an expensive gift to show someone how much you care, especially when you’ve been showing them all year long. Like Paris Lees said, if someone doesn’t understand that you don’t have the cash to buy them a gift, they don’t deserve one. Next time, buy a gift that you can afford because you’re thinking about them, not because you want to impress. If you are out to impress you may find yourself in a difficult situation afterward.

2. Cashback or Card Benefits

When cash is tight there are lots of options out there to give you a helping hand. For example, if you really need money you can always apply for a loan or credit card. I would avoid loans because of the higher interest rates, but credit cards aren’t a bad alternative especially with cashback options being available through many. For example, American Express is currently running the shop small program aimed at helping local and small businesses. The program is a great money saver because they’ll give you $10 back when you spend $20 or more at a small or local business. If you can join such a program and find local shops to purchase presents from for Christmas, you’ll be able to save a nice amount of money.

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3. Amazon Hidden Discounts

Many online shopping sites have tricks up their sleeves to pull customers away from street shops. For example, Amazon runs lightening deals to entice people into buying heavily discounted products. It’s worth keeping an eye on these during the lead up to Christmas. You never know what you might see. Plus, Amazon’s shipping is pretty good so you don’t have to worry about getting your items in time for Christmas.

4. Look Around the House

This might sound kind of flaky but I have so many gifts laying around in my house I haven’t used. Some are home electronics, beauty items, baby gear, and clothing. Be selective if you decide to give these away because you want to make sure they are still in style and can be used. You needn’t tell the receiver that it’s an unwanted gift from someone else if it’s something they will enjoy, who cares!

5. eBay

Most people think of eBay and think it’s full of second-hand items, it’s actually not! It’s full of brand new items as well at, more often than not, cheaper prices than you would find in a store. Just make sure when you’re searching that you filter search results to be new items only. The website bidvoy is really handy for checking the price an item typical sells for on eBay, so you can quickly compare prices to stores to see how much you could save.

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Apart from the savings you can get on eBay, another great feature is that your purchases are protected. So if an item you ordered doesn’t turn up or it’s not as described, you can easily get a refund for it.

6. Brand Discount Stores

If you want to get a particular brand item for someone, instead of going direct to the brands’ store or website, try going to an outlet or store that sells multiple brands all under one roof. These places are typically cheaper and often carry last years stock or items that are selling a bit slower. That doesn’t mean the receiver won’t love them though, so give it a go!

The most important thing to remember at Christmas is that it’s a time to be with loved ones and enjoy each others company. Presents are great but don’t let them dominate the holiday.

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Featured photo credit: cdn.history via cdn.history.com

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Published on November 20, 2018

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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