How To Save More During The Most Expensive Months Of The Year
This is an article “How To Save More During The Most Expensive Months Of The Year” by Marc Primo
Once all the Halloween candy is gone and the lights are up on the tree, one of the most stressful things adults usually think about is how expensive the holiday season will be. With one month left to get your Christmas shopping in order, here are some great tips that can help you reduce your spending on the most costly time of the year.
First, let's get one thing straight: putting off your holiday season budget for later is never a good idea. From November until the end of the year, you'll have to consider spending on 'back-to-back' expenses that start from Halloween's trick or treat, Thanksgiving reunions, Christmas parties, and then culminate with your New Year celebrations. If you haven't heard about it, the fourth quarter of the year is when you would most likely draw out your wallet and credit cards, whether you like it or not.
However, not many people see the opportunity to set their financial goals early for the incoming year during the holiday season. Regardless if you have some savings left or not, here are some of the best ways you can save up on your holiday spending while still keeping a few bucks before another year comes around the corner.
Adjust to the current supply chain
If last year's Christmas season is any indication, this year's celebrations will again be uniquely one for the books. Expect fewer parties but more spending on deliveries and inflation. Plus, you can't rely on the supply chain to make things easier just yet, either.
Since the height of the pandemic, global supply chains prompted industry shutdowns and triggered lower consumer demands which caused a significant reduction in business activities. Suddenly, as vaccines emerged and opened up a better outlook for the economy, demands skyrocketed, and the supply chain was in chaos. Significantly hampered this holiday season is the delivery of goods due to a couple of factors, including worker shortages, lack of raw materials for production, supply chain bottlenecks, and more substantial destabilization of supply and demand.
If you haven't bought gifts for your loved ones yet, chances are it's already too late, or prices have gone up way higher than you would want to. Experts have already warned consumers about ordering electronics products that might not arrive in time, so be sure you scratch those off your list. Take a different approach to your gift-giving and holiday preparations this unique year by spending down and being more thoughtful.
Try giving out handcrafted crafts you can make during your spare time (these days, it's easy to assume you have a lot of that), or look for good online deals that are not as pricey or faddish to ensure that your gifts reach your loved ones in time. Refrain from coming out for Black Friday or Cyber Monday this year, as you'll only find lousy deals due to the economic challenges. Instead, wait around for better deals to come for your larger purchases.
Save gas and maintenance money for your road trips
From calculating your travel expenses for Thanksgiving to laying down your budget for gifts and party expenses, tracking your financial data is essential during this part of the year if you want to avoid exhausting all your money.
If you are going on a road trip out of town, review how the spike in gas prices can affect your budget. One app called GasBuddy can help you track gas prices at 150,000 gas stations all over the country, but it's best to know that right now, the average is around $3.36 per gallon.
To save up on gas further, monitor your electrical system properly and ride with less weight. Reducing your mph also helps, and killing the engine while idle in traffic can improve fuel economy, too.
Make the most out of your employee benefits
November is the best time to make the most out of your employee benefits since it's the enrollment period. Review your alternative and sign-up for what can offer you the best savings without jeopardizing your core benefits such as health, life insurance, or retirement.
First, be sure you meet the requirements and consult your HR officer to know how your benefits will work. Some employers offer package benefits based on the demography of their workforce. However, try exploring other options, especially if you are among those who are raising kids, have other dependents, or a chronic medical condition.
Try to gauge whether you have to adjust your benefits to the present with a clear perspective of what's ahead. For the past 18 months, the pandemic has caused everyone more money, and a return to pre-COVID-19 conditions is still far from anyone's sight, though there have been numerous changes at work and the benefits offered by many companies.
Compare features and prices on your health plan and consider out-of-pocket maximums. It will also earn you more savings by reviewing each of your company's offer plans – from high deductible health plans, health savings accounts, to health maintenance organization plans. Decide which one is most suitable for your current health condition and avoid unnecessary payments for what you don't really need.
Make some extra money during the season
One of the best ways to get through the holiday season financially is by applying for seasonal jobs to earn extra cash. Take a good half hour and browse job listings online, then pick one which you can work on remotely and more flexibly.
Reviewing the current numbers from UpWork will tell you that remote work is very much 'in' today, with 26% of the American workforce planning to adapt to the trend. And many companies are fast-tracking their hiring process to get positions filled during the busiest time of the year. UPS, for one, guarantees a 30-minute application process for online applicants brought about by the labor shortage.
Getting a seasonal job not only earns you extra income but can also offer sign-up bonuses and other perks that will be handy during the holidays. Best of all, employers are keen on making these seasonal jobs a permanent gig if performance is up to par, so pick the one that gives you the option to stick around longest.