The holiday shopping season is coming up faster than you think, with Black Friday on November 29th this year. If you realize that you may be short on ready cash for Black Friday, start saving with these easy tips.
1. Trim Your Costs
Make it a challenge to cut at least 10 to 20 percent off your variable expenses between now and Black Friday. If you don’t know how much you are spending on groceries, eating out, health and beauty supplies or gasoline each week or month, you may be spending more than necessary. Try a hairstyle that’s more low-maintenance and will last longer between haircuts. Buy generic rather than name-brand foods, and reduce the amount you are spending on convenience foods or eating out – almost always, it’s cheaper to cook healthy food at home.
2. Shrink Your Utility Bills
With a little advance planning, you can cut down many of your utility bills, even during the colder months. Use shorter, cooler laundry cycles and hang your clothes to dry rather than using the tumble-dryer. Adjust your heating program down a few degrees, and set the program timer to start a little later and end a little sooner – you probably won’t notice any difference at home, but the savings will add up.
3. Open A Separate Bank Account
Consider opening a separate savings account exclusively for that epic Black Friday shopping trip. In this way, you know exactly how much you have available for the big day. To make things even easier to save, set up a direct deposit between your regular checking and this Black Friday bank account. You’d be surprised by what you find in your account by the time November 29th rolls around.
4. Dust Off Your Piggy Bank
It’s an old way to save money but a good way. Put your loose change in a designated jar or even an authentic piggy bank, and near the end of November, remember to visit your bank or a CoinStar to get bills for your coins.
5. Turn Trash into Cash
If you live in a state where there is a deposit on recyclable bottles and cans, unlock this source of cash for Black Friday. Wash and return your recyclables for between 5 and 15 cents apiece. This may not sound like much money, but if you drink multiple beverages from recyclable containers every day, it’s a source of cash that quickly adds up. At the time of writing, the following states have container deposit refund programs: California, Connecticut, Guam, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont. Be sure to check their websites in the event that you have to register online, which is the case for New York.
6. Don’t Back Out of Cash Back Opportunities
Take a look at the cash back rewards offered by your credit card, debit card, or store loyalty card. Put any major expenses you can – for example, car repairs or annual tire changes – on a card that offers cash-back rewards, and you’ll have free cash or gift cards to use by Black Friday. Be careful you don’t end up leaving high credit-card balances lingering, though. Credit card interest rates can easily outstrip cash back savings if you don’t pay your balance off or down each month.
Coin collecting photo courtesy of Shutterstock.