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DIY Designs: Four New Projects to Take on That can Help you Save Money

DIY Designs: Four New Projects to Take on That can Help you Save Money

With the holidays right around the corner, saving money can seem like an impossible task, especially with all of the Christmas gifts you have to buy. With endless holiday parties and gift-exchanges, the season can quickly drain your bank account. It really is amazing how much money you can spend this time of year, especially if you have a big family. Luckily, there are many ways you can save money this time of year as well as during the rest of the year. To help you keep your money (and cheer) this holiday season, here are four DIY projects that can help.

Make your own wrapping paper.

Buying, storing, and keeping up with wrapping paper every year can get expensive. Making your own wrapping paper is a fun, thrifty way to personalize your presents. Also, everyone will be super-impressed by how skilled and crafty you are! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

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  • Snowflake wrapping paper: Use a piece of construction paper to layer snowflake patterns around a gift.
  • Stamped wrapping paper: After wrapping a gift in a paper grocery bag, use household items to create stamp patterns. Consider using a pencil eraser to create a polka dot pattern on the gift. If you would like larger dots, carve your stamp into a potato and press it against the ink pad.
  • Dotted wrapping paper: Wrap your gift in plain white paper. Place round, self-adhesive, color-coded labels all over the gift.

Use an online card maker.

Your card should be as unique as you are. With the right technology and an online card maker, you can easily make customized greeting cards from the comfort of your own home. With endless design options, programs like Adobe Spark allow users to make personalized cards in just minutes.

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Make your own gifts.

Creating your own gifts is easier than you think. From a snow globe cookie jar for Dad to DIY bath bombs for Mom, the web is full of creative, inexpensive ideas for holiday gifts. All it takes is a little patience and a lot of creativity to bring these ideas to life.

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Get creative with holiday decorations.

It does not take a fortune to go all-out on holiday decorations. Here are a few fun, cost-effective ideas to bring holiday cheer into your home:

  • DIY Christmas tree: Whether you are missing a tree or just need to fill an empty wall, this simple craft will do just the trick. Use long strands of yarn to create a mini version of a tree on an empty wall. If you have children, enlist their help dressing the tree with paper-circle ornament cutouts.
  • Make your own Advent calendar. This is a fun way to get your kids excited about the holidays. Start by drawing or painting numbers on small muslin craft bags. Fill each bag with goodies or notes and use festive ribbons to hang them on a wall or small ladder. Each day leading up to Christmas, allow the children to open a bag that corresponds with that day of the month.
  • Deck out the entryway. If you have too many ornaments for your tree, consider putting the extras to work. After draping the entryway with green garland, use surplus ornaments to add bursts of color.
  • Create a quick, easy centerpiece. Take your candy dish to the next level with this creative idea. Layer green, red, and white wrapped candies in a tall glass jar for a beautiful centerpiece.

Saving money during the holidays is easier than you think. These four simple projects can help your money go a little farther this season.

Featured photo credit: www.pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Kara Masterson

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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