How to Save Money this Holiday Season
Happy Holidays from Owen Your Future! With Thanksgiving past, and Christmas quickly approaching, Alli and I wanted to wish you all merry holidays! We couldn't consider ourselves much of financial bloggers if we didn't offer you some ways to help save some money this holiday season! We are going to talk about a few ideas, some on how to save some money on the gifts you might want or need to get. But also how to open the discussion with your loved ones on to moving away from gifts and products for Christmas!
Saving Money on your gifts! P.S. some of these links may be affiliates, this means we get a small commission if you choose to sign up. The price remains the same for you though!
Gift Cards - Everyone probably has someone on their Christmas list that they are planning to get a gift card this year. Maybe your entire Christmas list? Its no wonder, let the people get what they want! It’s the most foolproof strategy to ensure there are no unwanted gifts this season. If you want to get the people on your list gift cards you can use one of several discount sites that save you 10-15% off the regular price which is really a no-brainer vs buying them at the Walmart checkout line. These services have either negotiated a discount directly with the issuing merchant or they are a marketplace where people can sell their personal gift cards. (You might be buying someone else's Birthday gift card at a discount so maybe its not 100% foolproof as a gift but Its Still cheaper than Cash!)
Raise - LINK
CardPool - LINK
GiftCard Granny - LINK
Watch this video if you'd rather hear us talk than read 🙂
CashBack - Cash Back sites are all over the place but some that I use frequently to save some money are Checkout51, Ibotta, and Earny. Checkout51 and Ibotta are cash back apps that give you money back on your groceries. The reason I listed both of them is you can often get different rebates from each or occasionally they have the same cash back and you can double down on both of them! These are great if you are hosting this holiday season and need to take the edge off that extra supple grocery bill. Earny is an awesome site that we use year round. You link it to your amazon accounts and your credit cards and it will automatically apply for your credit cards "purchase protection" benefit. Basically it scours the internet for a cheaper price on any of your amazon purchases and if it finds it fills out the paperwork and asks your credit card company for the difference.
Ibotta - LINK
Checkout51 - LINK
Earny - LINK
Deals - Everyone wants to get the best deal when they buy something, regardless of if it's for a present or not. The beauty of these sites is that you'll use them for your own personal shopping too. I like to use Slickdeals and CamelCamelCamel. Slickdeals is great of all kinds of stuff but I particularly like it for electronics. It’s a forum based platform where people post whatever deals they find and the community upvotes the best deals. If you want something specific you can look in a category and set up alerts for when a new deal is added. It's good if you know you want a "laptop" not if you know you want a specific model with a specific specification. For that I like Camelcamelcamel. As we mentioned above we love Amazon. And it does frequently have some of the best deals. CCC will let you check the historical price of any item on Amazon so you know how low it's been in the past and if you don't need it right away you can decide to wait for it to drop to its lowest price again. You'd be surprised how often the Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals aren't even as low as it was in March of last year for whatever reason.
SlickDeals - LINK
CamelCamelCamel - LINK
How to talk with your family about skipping gifts
Some might recoil at the thought of brining this up to their family. I know… we all have crazy families. I'll tell you more about my experience with this but first let's think about the point of Christmas. It’s a time that frequently re-unites family after time apart. Where we get to spend time with loved ones. That’s what should take center stage in the holidays and not the materialistic side of us that just wants the newest iPhone. Society is good at convincing us that we need to show our love through buying stuff (after all advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry) Its really just a construct of our society and I can tell you that personally, my holidays have become richer and more fulfilling after skipping the gifts with my family.
My family recently decided to do this just a few years ago. All three members of my family were living all over the country and we were flying home to Colorado to have Christmas at my mom's house each year. After we did this once or twice we decided that it would be best to focus on what we wanted to do as a family together than just return home to participate in some commercialism. We really valued our time together. It was almost the only time that we were able to get together all year because of our different schedules. We opted to skip the gifts and allocate the money we would have spent there to taking a trip somewhere new together. We all are very adventurous and we found that spending time together in new places really brought us together.
Talk priorities - If you reading this blog and others in the Financial Independence space you know that we believe strongly in priorities. Financial independence is just a strategy to get us what we really want (time with family, friends, freedom from a job) and most families can get behind those things. They may not connect the dots initially on why you bought your flights with points or got in at 1am because that flight was half price. Most of society doesn't understand why we do what we do. Make it real to them by talking about what makes you happy and talk priorities like being there to raise your young children or being free to travel the world with your spouse while you are young. When you bring the conversation away from your actions (hard for them to understand) to what you want out of life (easy to understand) I see that people generally start to come around.
Serve - One of the biggest themes of the holidays is Gratitude! I'm a huge proponent of gratitude as there are studies that have shown being grateful literally re-wires our brain. We are happier, more creative, more productive, and more loving. All good things to have during the holiday season and nothing brings a family together like giving back to others. Obviously, you need to take time together but consider serving someone less fortunate on Christmas or the day before to really set the tone with your family and help everyone to appreciate the wonderful Christmas you have together.
We hope these suggestions have been helpful and can help save you some money this holiday season! Have other tools, tips, or tricks for your holiday? Comment below and let us know about them!
Matt & Alli