No more debt in January – how we’ve had a debt-free Christmas for the past 7 years and you can too!
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It’s so easy to see your spending skyrocket around the holidays.
But, with a little planning and some effort during the rest of the year, I can stock away enough money to plan for a debt-free Christmas for my family.
Here are a few simple steps!
Start a savings plan
If possible, one of the easiest ways to start putting money aside for the holidays is to put aside a small amount every week or month.
Your bank may allow you to open an account online that you can add to a little at a time. Or you could have a certain amount moved automatically so you won’t even miss it. Even 5 or 10 dollars a week adds up fast!
But, for many households taking money out of the budget every week isn’t an option.
The solution may be earning a little more, even if that means only being able to spare a few minutes a day.
In the past few years, online survey sites have become a popular way for people to add a bit to their income by giving their opinions from the comfort of their own home.
I’ve written an entire post about the survey sites that I use and why I like them more than others.
Now, there is no way to make a million dollars on these surveys. You probably won’t come close to a part-time income. But, spending a little time each day on some of these sights can quickly allow you to sock some cash or gift cards away to spend on your holiday giving.
Invite-only survey communities
If you’re already a regular survey site user, you may be invited to an online community at some point. These are usually sponsored by a brand or store. Once you’re invited in, you’re able to give feedback on new products or advertisements. They might seem like a bigger commitment, but they really only ask a few minutes of your time a month.
The payout for these types of sites tends to be much, much larger than traditional survey sites. I highly recommend jumping on the invitation if you ever receive one!
I’ve been part of 2 online communities for the last few years. Between the two, I can earn at least $20 a month. That’s an easy $240 per year right in our holiday budget!
Many, many people use Ibotta for cashback when they grocery shop. Since I began shopping at Aldi, I don’t use it as often. But, did you know that Ibotta offers rebates on more than just food? I use the app for rebates at Joann’s when I pick up craft supplies!
Rakuten is another popular cashback site. Formerly Ebates, Rakuten has a high payout amount, but if you find the right deals, it can be a great way to put a little more money back in your wallet!
There are a few apps that ask you to upload photos of your receipts in exchange for gift cards or Pay Pal deposits. As opposed to sites like Ibotta, you’re not being asked to account for specific items that you are actually buying at the store. I believe the information on your receipts is being used by brands and stores to see what people in certain demographics are purchasing.
Receipt Hog is my favorite of these sites. They give you bonuses if you submit a receipt once a week. You’ll also earn more the longer you use the app.
I’m currently using all 3 of these sites and they just take a few minutes out of my day.
Did you know that you can earn Amazon gift cards while doing your online searches through Bing?
Each search is worth 5 points, and you can earn them both on your desktop and mobile searches. They have bonuses too! I hit the goal at least once a month for another $60 in gift cards a year.
Selling items you don’t need any longer
Maybe you’re looking to declutter and make some holiday money at the same time? Selling your unused goods has never been easier.
I’m lucky that our neighborhood has a large community yard sale every fall. Just in time to clear out our clutter right before the holiday season!
Not looking to set up and manage a big yard sale? List your items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay and put those proceeds towards your gift-giving fund.
Shopping at consignment sales
This tip isn’t about making money for the holidays, but a way to stretch those dollars farther. Ever since my children were born, I made it a point to check through all the toys at my local consignment sales to see if there were any toys that I could save for their Christmas gifts.
It’s not as easy these days as they’ve gotten really specific about their lists, but if I see something I know they’ll like for a great price, I grab it and hide it away until it’s time to place it under our tree!
It should go without saying that there is absolutely no reason to spend more than you can during the holidays.
We don’t go crazy with our gift-giving at all, but even just celebrating in little ways can result in big disruptions to your wallet.
All these little pots of earning and saving in this post have added up to give us a debt-free Christmas since I became a stay at home mom.
I know there are plenty of other tips out there, too!
How do you budget for the holidays? Share your best ideas in the comments below!