News flash: Christmas is less than two weeks away (just in case you weren’t paying attention). Seriously. Two weeks. You’ve probably heard the Christmas music playing around town. Panic is certainly setting in right about now.
Just in case Christmas has surprised you again this year (hint: It’s December 25 every year), here are 14 ideas you could use to save $100 (or more) by Christmas. That’s one idea per day between now and Christmas to provide plenty of inspiration to help you spread a little holiday cheer. So relax and put some of these ideas to work to help you fill up a Christmas fund.
1. Don’t eat lunch at restaurants. Pack your lunch instead (at least every other day) and save the money you would have spent on lunch.
2. Count the cash in your coin jar. You probably have some sort of container used to collect change (maybe even in your car).
3. Cash in some gift cards. Consider selling extra gift cards for less than face value to turn some unused plastic into cold, hard cash.
4. Brew your own coffee. Save the money you would have spent stopping by your favorite coffee shop on the way to the office.
5. Take a break from entertainment. Pocket the money you would normally spend for movies, concerts, or shows for two weeks. Borrow DVDs from friends and watch movies at home instead—and make your own popcorn.
6. Eliminate dining out for dinner. Eat at home for two weeks—or at least one week. Save that money and use it for your Christmas fund.
7. Sell some stuff. You probably have some unused things around the house you could sell on Craigslist or local online social trading posts.
8. Downsize your closet. Pull out some clothing you are not wearing regularly and sell it at a local consignment shop.
9. Drink some water. Skip the daily soda(s) and use that cash for your Christmas fund.
10. Shop your pantry and freezer. You probably have enough food around the house to prepare several meals through the course of a week. Put the grocery money you save toward Christmas.
11. Create a shopping list. Before you head to the store, creating a list will keep you on track and help you avoid overspending.
12. Trade in some video games. Those games you are not playing could be turned into cash.
13. Sell some candy. Everyone loves candy during the holidays. Your local bulk warehouse store sells the fundraiser boxes of candy. Buy a box, take it to work, and sell it (if your company allows that).
14. Skip the Christmas manicure or pedicure. Enlist the help of your spouse, a friend, or one of your kids. Not only will you save a good chunk of money, you will enjoy some great bonding time. Sure, your nails may not look professionally polished, but you will create a Christmas memory. (And honestly, how often are you checking out someone else’s nails at the Christmas party?)
These ideas will certainly help you save $100 or more by Christmas, but here is the secret: for every extra dollar you save or make you need to physically move it to a Christmas fund so it doesn’t go to waste. We suggest putting all of this cash into an envelope and labeling it “Christmas Fund.” You’ll love seeing all that cash pile up! Whatever you save, that becomes your budget.
When it’s time to go shopping, just use the cash that you have in the envelope. Your Christmas fund envelope will help you stay on track and not overspend. When the cash runs out, you stop shopping. Don’t go into debt for Christmas. Trust us: Toys and tablets aren’t worth starting your new year with new debt.