It’s the fun part of the year with all the festivals and holidays that are headed our way. It brings back all the fun memories. I was in a boarding school so it was all the more fun for me knowing that I’ll be meeting all my family, there’ll be a lot of gifts buying and giving. Meeting all the relatives. Oh! Just the thought!
Even though it’s been years and years since I still feel the same joy when the last quarter comes around. But it’s also that part of the year when your bank account takes a hit. So, today I thought why not talk about the many ways you can prepare for the season without burning a hole in your pocket.
I bring you my top 7 ways of saving money without missing out on the celebration.
1. Budget, budget, BUDGET!
Like Rachel Cruz says, the budget does not have to limit your spending but look at it this way - you have all this money you can spend.
1. Set a goal and prepare that list of all that you want to do. Gifts, meet-ups, decorations, menu, grocery, shopping, everything that you can think.
2. Get that figure you know it’s going to cost. Does that number make you feel comfortable? Do you have that money?
3. Get realistic about it. Trim, cut, chop that list to make sure you are within your means and you can still enjoy the festivity.
Most importantly track your spending.
2. Plan for this season and set some money aside for it. Do you want to use cash only system or you want the convenience of plastic money? Are you comfortable with the debit card or the credit card?
Whether you choose cash or card, start putting aside some money in advance towards this. This way you are not wiping yourself out last minute. If you find credit card more appealing, you still should set aside the money in advance to pay your credit card bill.
Cut down that Starbucks coffee or the takeout. A little saved here and a little saved there does add up into a tidy sum you can spend on the festivals.
I like to set up an automatic deposit to a savings account as Diwali/Christmas fund.
3. Start shopping ahead of time.
Keep an eye out all year around for items that make a good gift and stock them. Seasonal sales happen all year around. You can shop during these sales and be ready for the festivals. For example, Diwali/Christmas lights in offseason might be a little cheaper, why not stock them. Spreading out your spending is a good way to avoid buying a lot of things all at once. But also take care during sales to make sure you don’t stock up items that will go out of style soon or that you over stock which can easily happen. If you are ordering online, place your orders in advance and avoid the last minute insane shipping charges.
4. Go traditional.
Before it all became so commercial, it was all traditional, so remember that. Instead of fancy decorations, go traditional, simplify and even reuse some of the old stuff. For example, an old saree can be a great table runner. Or, a fancy expensive sweets gift box can be dropped for some homemade sweets. You can’t put a price tag on the emotions behind that gift. Even sending simple DYI cards or e-cards can be a simple and inexpensive way of wishing instead of an expensive greeting card.
5.Know when to stop.
It’s important to know when you’re finished, and avoid stopping by the mall “just to see what they have” – this can lead to making poorly planned purchases and blowing your budget.
6. Remember the reason for the season
Keep the spiritual message front and center. Spend the weekends leading up to Diwali with your family and loved ones instead of at the mall. Your time with them is more valuable than any gift you can ever give.
7.And most importantly give back to your community
It’s an excellent opportunity to teach your children generosity.
Don’t forget the less fortunate, the orphans, the elderly, the sick, this holiday season. Make sure you budget for this and give back. Find a cause that speaks to you. Commit to giving not only this season but all year around.
With all the marketing campaigns that are geared to make us spend and spend and spend some more, it’s awfully easy to get caught up in the spending cycle. But if you have a plan in place that you know you can stick to, you have nothing to worry.