SAN MATEO, Calif., Nov. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Cyber Monday has arrived, and holiday shopping is in full force. Keeping to a budget and maintaining determination to avoid credit card debt can be challenging – but it’s possible to do by saving $100 or more a week between now and the end of the year, according to Andrew Housser, co-CEO of Freedom Debt Relief.
“Most people find that a little effort can mean significant savings,” says Housser. “The result can be a holiday season filled with more joy and less debt.” He offers eight ways to help consumers find an extra several hundred dollars over the next month, avoid going into debt and still enjoy the season.
- Eliminate unused hobby supplies. People with a hobby typically spend $50 to $100 per month on it. If you have not touched your projects in more than a year, consider selling the supplies and equipment to someone who will enjoy it.
- Empty the storage unit. The average 10-by-10-foot storage unit costs upwards of $100 a month. With few exceptions (such as storing some possessions while your home is being remodeled), paying for a storage unit generally is not a good use of money. If you are storing family items, ask relatives to collect their possessions. If you store holiday decorations, this is a perfect time to streamline your collection and then store it at home come January.
- Sell unneeded items through eBay, Craigslist, Nextdoor or a yard sale. One report says that 48 percent of Americans consider their homes to be at least somewhat cluttered with items they no longer use, and 72 percent believe they would gain more space in their homes by purging unused items. With a little time and effort, many people could earn $250-1,000 or more by cleaning out closets, garages, basements and attics.
- Save what you “save.” With the proliferation of savings apps and coupons (online and offline), it is faster than ever to find bargains and rebates on groceries, clothing, household supplies and gifts. Apps such as Ibotta, Mobisave, BevRage, Checkout51, Swagbucks, Target’s Cartwheel and Walmart’s Savings Catcher can be good sources. Then, after shopping, check the bottom of receipts to see the savings noted. Transfer that amount into a dedicated savings account, says the Freedom Debt Relief CEO, and you can reap benefits far beyond the holiday season.
- Reduce what is not good for you. Plenty of people indulge in things that are not necessarily good for them, especially during the holiday season. The average U.S. adult drinks four alcoholic beverages a week at an average weekly cost of $10, although one restaurant cocktail can run $10 or more. About 15 percent of Americans smoke cigarettes, which now cost about $7.25 a pack. A latte can run $5 at a café. Skip one week of alcohol, cut back on cigarettes by one pack per month, or order drip coffee instead of a blended coffee drink once per week, and you could save $10, $15, $50 or more a month.
- Cut the TV cord. Cable TV can cost more than $100 per month. Instead, use an inexpensive antenna to watch broadcast television in HD, or check out DVDs from a local library. Alternatively, a subscription to a service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling TV or Hulu will cost only about $10 per month.
- Cancel unused memberships and subscriptions. Go through your credit card bills to identify any recurring charges for services you are not regularly using. You may find that you still are paying for gym membership or music subscription service you no longer find useful. For most people, cancelling just a gym membership would mean savings of $40-100 each month.
- Eat in. People may tire of hearing this piece of advice, but given the financial consequences, it is worth repeating. More than 75 percent of Americans eat out at least once a week. In a month’s time, spending $60 a week on dining out adds up to $240. And if you do go out, you can save more by reducing or eliminating alcohol. It may also save the cost of a taxi or car service home.
“It is all too easy for holiday shoppers to pile up bills that take months to pay, or even push them over the edge into unmanageable debt,” Housser says. “Fortunately, there is time left for people to save, and to avoid going deep into debt this holiday season.”