Between decorations, holiday feasts, gifts for your family and friends, and Secret Santa exchanges at the office, it’s easy to blow through your paycheck during the holiday season.
It doesn’t help that most supermarkets and department stores trick you into spending more. But you can play that game, too.
To help keep more cash in your wallet this holiday season, we rounded up 11 simple strategies to help you spend less and save more.
Master the ’10-second’ rule.
“During those ten seconds, ask yourself if you really need it and also if that money wouldn’t be better used somewhere else. You’ll almost always find yourself putting that unnecessary item back on the shelf and walking away, quite proud that you didn’t waste your money on something so unnecessary.”
Put this strategy to test when you’re shopping for stocking stuffers — it’s easy to get carried away with small, relatively inexpensive presents, but a bunch of little purchases can add up over the course of the gift-giving season.
Practice the ‘stranger test.’
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Another quick and easy in-store trick: When deciding whether or not to make a purchase, imagine a stranger offering your would-be purchase in one hand and the cash it would take to buy it in the other. If you’d rather accept the cash, you might as well keep that money in your pocket.
Procrastinate on non-essential purchases.
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There are times when procrastinating does have value. When it comes to discretionary spending, A. Noonan Moose from Frugal Fringe recommends putting off your purchase to give yourself time to find better prices and make better decisions. We highlighted a few of our favorite examples here.
This strategy translates well to buying gifts online: If you’re deciding between a few choices, put all of them in your cart, and leave them for a few days without checking out (as long as you’ll still have time for delivery before they’re needed). In that time, an item might go out of stock and make your choice for you, you might be offered a retailer coupon by email, or the price might drop.
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Simply leave the plastic at home, determine how much money to withdraw for your holiday gifts, and buy things only with the cash you allocated for yourself. When it runs out, you’re out of funds.
Bonus: If you’re going cash-only, seek out the newest, crispest bills from your bank. Research shows that people prefer new cash to dirty, wilted bills, and are more likely to spend, and part with, the old ones.
Cover your credit card to create a mental — and physical — barrier.
If leaving the plastic at home simply is not…