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How to Create a Budget and Save Money on Holiday Gifts

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How to Create a Budget and Save Money on Holiday Gifts

With the holiday season upon us, that means it's time to find presents for family and friends. This can be hard for those who already feel like their finances are stretched thin. It might be too late to plan far in advance and create a whole new budget. However, there still are a few things that you can do to save money for last-minute gifts and prepare for next year!

Smart Money Trackers

Creating a budget first requires that you have a thorough understanding of how you're already spending your money each month. For those who don't want to tabulate each transaction by hand, try a smart money tracker which lets you categorize each purchase so you can know how much money is going to each category. Apps like Mint allow you to track and categorize each transaction, as well as create a monthly budget and plan certain financial goals.

You can get as granular as you want when it comes to categorization, allowing you to cut back on spending in specific areas like "personal items: makeup and haircare" for example. This can help you not only during the holidays but during the rest of the year as well. Consider linking your most used bank accounts to this app so you can use the rest of the month to adapt your spending around Christmas presents.

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Automatic Online Couponing

If you want to save money automatically on stuff you buy every day, then adding a few tools to your belt may be perfect. Chrome extensions like Popcart, Honey, and automatically search the web for any active and available coupons for the site you're shopping on so you get the best deals without having to look yourself. When combined, they’ll let you know when and where you can save money both with couponing and finding the best unit price! This is one of the easiest ways to save money as you hardly have to do anything - the extension does all the searching for you and makes couponing super fast.

In a similar vein, you can use another type of chrome extension like Shoptagr which saves the item you're looking at online and emails you when it's gone on sale. With this handy extension you can choose to be notified of certain price drops or if the price of the item changes at all. This way you can save items throughout the year that you think will make a great gift for a family member, and purchase it only when Shoptagr tells you it's been discounted. It's also never too late to start using this extension, as many merchants will still have sales before Christmas!

Look at Unit Pricing

The best way to set aside money for things you want by saving money on things that you already purchase regularly. The easiest way to achieve this is to make sure you're getting the best value for money possible; this means calculating price per ounce or price per gram of all your items and comparing beforehand. This goes especially for things like groceries! Consider trying a site like Price Per Ounce, which allows you to enter information about the items you're comparing and tells you which is the better deal.

Side Work

The best way to get extra money is to take up additional work. However, there’s a chance that your job won’t offer the extra hours. That’s where a holiday side job comes in. Look for jobs in retail or even weekend one-time jobs. Helping people move, clean their home, shovel their driveway, or put up decorations could net you $50 or $100 in a single day’s work. Take a look at Kijiji and see if there are ads posted for people looking for help with certain tasks in your area.
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Thrifty Gifts

If you have a lot of gifts to buy but not a lot of money, then look into thrift shops and second-hand stores. You can often find handmade items, toys, and excellent home additions at places like this. It's also more environmentally friendly to buy items pre-loved instead of feeding into the demand for production of new items and toys. Think about what your family member would like and get something second hand. This is a great idea if you have any friends or family members who appreciate the "art of thrifting" and finding cool, vintage second-hand pieces of clothing that no one else will have!

Get a Short-Term Loan to Help With Presents

The holiday time is a time when budgets get pushed to the limit. That can mean no money in savings should an emergency bill come up. If that’s the case, then think about looking into an online payday loan from a reputable online payday lender like iCash. We can help you make ends meet until your next paycheck with just an application and some necessary information. No one should worry about how they’re going to pay for an emergency.

Ramona Glanville

Ramona has been a regular contributor to some of Canada's top wealth-management editorials for over 30 years. She strongly believes in good saving habits, reducing financial clutter, and red wine.