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12 Ways To Get Money Smart This Holiday Season

Written by: Amber Stitt, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

The holidays can be expensive, right? During the festive season, our finances really do get stretched to breaking point without the right tools in place to prevent disaster. This made me think about the song “Twelve Days of Christmas” and how during a time of rededication and renewal; we can implement some strategies now and bring them with us through the New Year.


12 tips to get money smart

If you’re ready to get money smart, keep reading to discover my 12 top tips and change the way you spend for good. There is no time like the present!


1. Plan Your Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping can be a real budget-buster, and many of us don’t even realize it! The average American family with two kids can end up spending a mind-blowing $900 on groceries every month.


Plan your meals before you go shopping, and make sure to check the pantry for any hidden gems you may have forgotten existed. And my top tip? Leave the kids at home if you can to avoid any impulse purchases!


2. Shop Your Insurance rates

It’s time for an annual review with your insurance advisor. If you don’t have one already, find one! I can help you with that myself or can assist with an introduction to a strategic partner that can help you. You could save hundreds of dollars per year simply by shopping around – it’s definitely worth spending the extra time researching especially if you have had any life changes. This also means reviewing free employer benefits too as well as updating any beneficiaries.


3. Audit Your Memberships

It’s easy to forget about a subscription service until the money fairy comes to take your cash away. What are you using regularly? Is there anything that you’re not using at all? Would you miss it if it was gone? From Netflix to Amazon, take some time to trim things down. I have been guilty of doing the free month subscription that turns into a few months of a fee because I forgot to turn off the service on time. Don’t let that happen to you!


4. Evaluate Your Paycheck Withholdings

Take a look at your paycheck. Is everything in order? You can investigate what you’re taxed for through paystub or by talking with your HR department – swap overpaying in taxes for paying off your debts! We all love a tax refund but consider giving yourself the gift of money today and paying off a credit card or building a cash cushion. See what works best for you!


5. Pack Lunch and Eat at Home

That $5 you’re spending on a latte and a muffin adds up every time. Put money back into your pocket by doing a little bit of food prep! We all love restaurants, but there’s nothing like a good home-cooked meal to save you some money. You will find that you will be saving time and calories on a daily basis, by making your own coffee and meals most of the week.


6. Buy Online Early

Budget for your gifts – the sooner, the better! Once you’ve got a plan in place, you can shop online early to get the best deals and bargains in the run-up to the festive season. Apply this tactic to birthdays, weddings, and any other event that requires a generous investment! Before careful of the 1-click technology that lets us spend quickly with ease. That technology makes it too easy to spend so check your spending in those accounts frequently.


7. Automate Savings

Use an alternate bank account to accumulate savings automatically. If you can get into the habit of putting money aside before you budget for the month, you’ll find that the savings build up naturally without you even noticing. Using that automation tool will help to make sure the funds are there before the transfer occurs. The future version of you will be thankful – trust me!


8. Take Advantage of Pre-Tax Retirement Deposits

You can save on income taxes for the year by making pre-tax contributions to your retirement accounts. Also, be mindful of earmarking those dollars for the first quarter of 2022 if self-employed. A tax advisor will be helpful to you if you need some advice on how much to deposit and when. You also want to be sure you are participating in the correct minimum contributions in order to get your employer matching contributions as well.


9. Use Budgeting Apps

It seems that there’s an app for everything these days! Budget in a way that feels natural and creates good spending habits by exploring different types of budgeting apps. There are lots out there to try. For additional goal setting that uses Behavioral Science behind the motivation for any type of goal setting. Check out this app here.


10. Plan for Emergencies

There may come a time when you can’t manage your finances. Should anything happen to you, it’s essential to know that your nearest and dearest will be able to access savings and support with ease. Sit down with your family and discuss how to access emergency funds and contacts for peace of mind. For additional ideas on how to plan for any catastrophe, please find additional tips here.


11. Consolidate Your Décor

Before you return the holiday decorations to the dark depths of the attic, take stock and select your favorites, then donate the rest. Now you know what you have for next year. When you do buy decorations, invest in timeless classics that’ll last for years to come.

Take note of the everyday ornaments you brush past as well. Consider switching things up and rotating your decor to avoid buying new items. To see more tips on how to get ready for the holiday season, check out my article here.


12. Try A Spending Freeze or a Matched Contribution

Don’t buy any non-essential items for a whole week. This challenge is a great way to truly take stock of what you have and what you need. Make a note of how much money you’ve saved in the process of NOT buying. You’ll learn to appreciate the little things and become more aware of your (often unnecessary) indulgences.


An alternative approach is to ‘match’ yourself by providing a contribution to your savings for the same amount of the purchase. If you really need the item, make yourself match the denomination as a reward to your savings account. This is a funny little way to stop and ask yourself, can I afford this, and do I need it?


This holiday season, choose to give yourself the gift of financial security. It might take time, but it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Take a look at my blog for more life-changing ideas! Cheers!


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and visit my website for more info!


 

Amber Stitt, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Amber Stitt is a Financial Consultant, Business Strategist, and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach who helps individuals and businesses to take action to Catastrophe Proof their lives. She is co-owner at M.D. Disability Quotes and founder of the AmberStitt.com Blog and has been working in the financial industry for 10+ years.


Amber's passion is to help individuals identify how to implement custom planning processes that allow for those to do so within areas where they are naturally talented. She feels that it is everyone's duty to take care of those we love as well as ourselves, while we are able-bodied to. Planning can feel like a daunting project; so many or most, don't take the time to work on their overall game plan. She loves to educate and motivate those that she meets, so they achieve success and resilience with whatever obstacles they may face in life!

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