The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching
How to be financially prepared for the holidays.
I know some of you are going to think this is crazy, especially since it feels like we just entered our summer season, but the truth is that Christmas is 140 days away. We all know how quickly time flies and it will be here before we know it! Are you mentally prepared for it? What about financially ready for it?
It seems like a lot of us are strapped for cash during and after the holidays. There are some things that we can be doing to pinch our pennies throughout the year so that it makes enjoying the holidays a simple pleasure, instead of a stressful chaotic dash for presents and making ends meet. Even if you don’t have the holidays in mind, these steps can help you save for any goal!
The first step any time you are looking to save some cash is to figure out where your money is going and where you truly want it to end up. There are many budgeting tools out there, but did you know that you have a built-in budgeting tool in your Great Basin Online Banking? The Money Management Tool allows you to track your purchases, categorize, set goals, and sync other accounts to track your spending all in one convenient place. Once you know how your money is being used you can evaluate and set a new realistic budget that is attainable. If you spend $400 on groceries a month for your family, cutting the grocery budget down to $200 might not be feasible, but cutting it down to $300 can be an attainable goal. When you set a budget too tight, although it starts with good intentions, it won’t allow for wiggle room and this can lead to frustration and giving up.
The next step is finding extra cut backs. These don’t come from your core needs, these come from things that are indulgences. We live in an era of YOLO and self-care that encourage spending money and time on yourself. I’m not saying give up on these things all together, because the truth is, we do need to live in the moment and give ourselves care and joy. However, there is a point when we become excessive in these indulgences. While these extras may be giving us joy in the moment they are stealing from our long-term happiness and end goal. There are times to sacrifice in order to save. Sacrificing in small areas will give you a big reward in savings. So next time you encounter a moment to “Treat yo’ self!” take some time to decide if that splurge is really worth the price and if it is going to give you short- or long-term happiness.
Once you have budgeted and cut back on extra’s you should have your money saved securely. It isn’t always easy to not spend some of your savings. In order to help take away some of that temptation you can “lock” it away so that you aren’t able to spend it until a certain date. If your intention is to save for the holidays, we have the perfect savings account for you! The Christmas Club account allows you to save a little at a time and store it for the upcoming holidays. With no minimum opening investment, a rate of .15% APR*, dividends paid at the end of each month, and funds released the first business day in November each year at which time the funds will be transferred to your Essential Share Savings Account, this allows your savings to work a little harder for you. It’s secured savings made easy! If you aren’t interested in saving for the holidays, but have another goal in mind check out our new and improved certificate rates to secure your savings and you pick your own term!
While saving money for the holiday is one way to afford the season, it doesn’t cover ways to save on the holiday. Another way to be better prepared for the season is to adopt cheaper traditions. These could include: touring a neighborhood Christmas light display, sledding, baking together, seeing a high school production like a concert band or performing choir, and even finding your normal traditions on discount by utilizing online vendors like Groupon or Livingsocial to find savings on local attractions!
Another great idea is embracing the potluck. For your next holiday party, don’t feel like you need to be the host, the cook, and the maid! Delegate some of those tasks. Ask your brother to bring drinks, your sister to bring an appetizer, your grandma to make her famous pie, and have the nieces and nephews help with the clean up! Remember those lil guys are still trying to show Santa they are on the nice list, let them help you out in the process! If you are feeling the strain from gift giving chances are that you are not alone, suggest a Secret Santa Christmas so everyone is focused on one family member instead of the whole extended family. You may get some kickback, but the majority will find it a wonderful idea and brings the focus back on the memory making instead of the number of gifts you get.
The last thing we should remember when it comes to pinching our pennies to save for the holidays, or any other goal, is to take care around sales and to know when to stop shopping. Sales are sometimes not as good as they appear and end up costing you more in the long run. Always remember to comparison shop. Either you can do the leg work yourself and hunt around the internet for the best price or you could follow the trend by downloading the latest apps that do the hard work for you! Apps like Shopsavvy and Buyvia allow you to scan in your items bar-code while in store and see if you have the best deal in hand or if you should wait and purchase through a different vendor. Remember though that no matter how much you save with those discounts that spending money stops you from saving. If you do end up spending money, try uploading your receipts to apps like Ibotta that give you cash back on purchases you are already making!
These steps should allow you to enter in to saving for the holidays or any other goal with confidence. Remember that sometimes it takes small steps to make a big impact on your life, so don’t push yourself too hard. It’s a shame how many of us overcompensate for our goals and get sent into frustration and goal abandonment. My friends, you CAN do this. It’s within us all and we are all worthy of financial preparedness. Saving throughout the year and pinching our pennies can be hard at first, but gets easier with time, especially when you start meeting those goals and seeing the rewards.
If you need any other assistance with setting up your budget, please give us a call at (775) 333-4228 and we can schedule you a meeting with Michelle, our budgeting specialist. Now go forth and rock your savings goals!