5 {Nearly Painless} Ways to Save $500 Over the Holidays

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Ahhh…the holidays.

Argh…the holiday bills!

This is often the time of year that it becomes glaringly obvious that I didn’t save enough during the other 10 months!  What if there was an extra $500 in the bank account right now?

What if there was $2500?

5 Nearly Painless Ways to Save $500 featured on Kids Activities Blog

Family budgets are tight these days which is why I adore this series Creating Family Memories on a Budget inspired and sponsored by Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) program which can help you find trustworthy and competent investment advisors, realtors, insurance agents or tax services in your hometown.  You can sit down and create a custom financial plan with someone you are comfortable with and that your neighbors would recommend making it easier for you to set aside money for what is important to your family.

5 Ways to Save $500

During this time of year, we often are intent on spending vs. saving.  Making intentional money decisions with our family’s future in mind will bring joy for holidays to come.

Old Policies Could Cost You

When it comes to insurance, most people like to set it and forget it. Four in 10 auto and homeowner’s insurance customers have had policies with their current company for more than 10 years. In that amount of time, your insurance needs can changeBut we keep those old policies, believing our loyalty is earning us a discount.

Phil H. found out that wasn’t true when he finally took a good look at his home and auto insurance. He and his wife had used the same insurance company for more than 20 years, until he consulted an independent insurance agent for home comparison quotes.

“Our agent helped us save $600 per year on our home and auto insurance,” Phil told us. “That savings will go to our debt snowball—almost there!”

Phil’s agent was able to find him a better deal because independent agents aren’t tied to one insurance company. They’re able to shop and compare policies from several companies to find the right coverage at the best price.

Find out if an independent insurance agent can help save you money and give you peace of mind about your insurance coverage. Contact one of Dave’s insurance Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) for trustworthy advice and excellent service. Find your ELP today.

Drinking on the Go Has to Go

I do it myself all the time.  I drive thru my favorite coffee spot and spent $4 without even thinking about it.  If the kids are in the car, that bill is over $15.  $15 that has nothing to show for it except the empty calories that I now have to go work off and a caffeine fix that will last for 2 hours.

Recent news reports have estimated the average employed American spends nearly $15 per week on coffee.  I am not objecting to a good cup of coffee, but invest in it at home for a fraction of the price and save $10 per week {or more depending on your current habit}.

My kids have amassed pocketfuls of change for vending machines or ask to get a treat on the way home from school.  Indulging them in this way not only ruins their appetite for dinner, but is something that can add up fast.

Cutting a meager $10 a week from your “drinking out” can add up to more than $500 over a year, but if you are like me and could easily cut out more, just think of all the savings!

5 Ways to Save $500 this Holiday Season featured on Kids Activities Blog

Skip the Credit Card

During the holidays, I often reach for my credit card ignoring the fact that the bill WILL come.  It is so easy to put things on a card and be oblivious to the ramifications {and in some instances, the fight} that will ensue within 30 days.

If you spend $750 this season on a credit card which is less than the average American spends for holiday gifts, and then make a minimum payment of $20 per month, it will take you 6 years and over $500 in interest to pay off those purchases.  You will be paying for Christmas 2013 in Christmas 2019!

Figure out your holiday gift budget, take that cash out of the bank and pay with it (Pssst…Dave has a solution for that).  I am always surprised at how my mindset changes when I pay with cash.  I become protective over that hard-earned money and make more informed purchases because I don’t want to see that cash depleted.

Chop the Christmas List

OK, I know that sounds a bit like Scrooge, but let’s get real about your Christmas list.  Are there people on it that have occupied the spot for years without any connection?  I know that there are people that are on mine out of some implied obligation.

Let me introduce the concept of the Christmas card!  There are people on your gift list that could easily and painlessly be moved to your Christmas card list.  They are acquaintances, co-workers and distant family members that would adore getting a card and getting you off the hook for a gift.

On the fence about someone’s transition to the card list?  Then maybe a plate of cookies is the solution.

Consciously cutting gifts off your list can translate to big savings.  In some cases, it isn’t just the gift price, but shipping costs and the hassle factor as well.  You may not get to a full $500 savings from this, but it will make you more aware that giving is a CHOICE.

Give the Gift of Time and Creativity

How many nearly-new gifts do you have in the closet?  I might admit to having a shelf or two full of them.  I suspect that those to whom I give have a similar situation.  Wouldn’t it be great to give a gift that wouldn’t sit on the shelf?

We often think of these things when kids are giving gifts to adults, or couples to each other, but extending a gift of time instead of something purchased can end up being a better fit.   Make up coupons for babysitting hours, organizing time, offer to list 5 items on an online auction site for them, a social media review for their small business, addressing their Christmas cards, a full day together, driving carpool for a week, volunteering at their charity of choice or their children’s school, or anything else that you can dream up.  If it is something that you sell or you barter, then it is of value to someone else!

The bonus is that not only will you save money this season, but you will spend time and energy on building a relationship with that person.

Investing Today instead of Tomorrow

One of the reasons why it is so important to look for ways to save $500 is what $500 can bring to your family in the form of security.  The first step is to get out of debt and have an emergency fund.  Once you have that covered, make a commit to invest at least $500 a month just for retirement (that’s less than $20 a day).

If you are 35 years old and started this challenge today, you could end up with a $1.76 million retirement nest egg! And only $180,000 of that is from your pocket—the rest is interest earned!  Finding an investment professional to help teach and guide you through the details of investing is important to making sound choices.  The ELP network can help find someone in your town who has the heart of a teacher.

Thanks so much to the Endorsed Local Providers for sponsoring Kids Activities Blog and inspiring this series on creating family memories on a budget. 

Where can YOU save money this season?

Holly About Holly

Kids Activities Blog is Holly's blogging home.

She is the mom of three boys ages 7, 10 and 12 who partially homeschools. She believes that you shouldn't have to buy stuff to have fun when there is a kitchen junk drawer full of possibilities.

She can also be found at Business 2 Blogger, on Twitter as @QuirkyMommaSite or @Texasholly, but her favorite place to hang out is on Google +.

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