Savings Christmas savings
Are the numbers on your scale increasing and the numbers in your bank account decreasing? To change the direction of one of those, try our 13 Christmas savings hacks and the Holiday Budget in our Debt Free Guys’ Dynamic Budget this holiday season.
13 Christmas savings tips
Halloween ruined last year’s resolution to lose weight and Thanksgiving put the nail in that coffin. December brings family and work expectations with “only one” pot luck here and “only one” dinner there and then “just one” $20 White Elephant over there.
Little by little a little becomes too much. So, here’s our 13-part recipe for Christmas savings before you lose it all this holiday season.
1. Make a list and check it thrice
Yes, we did just watch the Golden Girls create a song about Miami, but we digress.
It would be stupid to not make this status quo rec first. It’s as boring as hanging Christmas lights, but the best way to have control over holiday shopping is to create a gifting budget, make a list of gift recipients and know what gifts you’ll give them. This customized Holiday Budget in our Dynamic Budget will do just that by helping you start planning for this year and next and all the other stuff in between!
Once you’ve completed this budget, proceed with caution.
2. Get something with experience
Everything old is new again, right? Well, maybe not, but repurposing is all the rage on HGTV. So, repurpose the old stuff and call it new again?
Sites such as Decluttr and Swap.com make thrifting as cool as Macklemore hoped with refurbished iPhones for as little as $178 and games for PlayStation 4 for as little as $10 – and all without popping tags on some old guy’s boxers and swatting away moths.
3. Spy shop
If you’re like us and avoided Black Friday like the Black Plague, forgot about Small Business Saturday and worked on Cyber-Monday, you may think you missed all the best deals.
Some of the best money saving holidays this holiday season are yet to come. Green Monday (December 19th) is another solid shopping day for deals. Finally, patience is a virtue, not just a Guns & Roses song. Those who hold out until the week heading into December 25th may see the best deals all year, especially if holiday shopping sales aren’t what Wall Street expects.
4. Redefine Rudolph’s worst night of the year
The annual choir of voices that denounce the commercialization of the holiday season is as much a tradition as “Naked Santa” runs. As MJ sang, change starts “with the man in the mirror.”
The best holiday memories aren’t gifts; they’re experiences with friends and family. Redefine what the holidays mean – less commercialism, less eating and less spending. Find ways to have more meaning with the ones who mean the most without spending all your means.
5. Do it with everyone and pretend you didn’t
Sure “outlet” stores are gimmicks that draw people out of cities and into suburbia and pays suburbia’s taxes, but you don’t have to drive there anyone. Outlet stores, such as Happy Socks, Overstock and all your favorite name brand stores can all be found online today. Get a little brave and try one of these three favs:
- ASOS – The UK based, independent online fashion mall. With over 60,000 reasonably priced brands, this site should appeal to even the most apparel conscious boy or girl.
- YesStyle – An Asia-based affordable, online shopping marketplace. This site has great, out-there styles that will set your student apart from the rest.
- GuyLook – For the ultra-avant-garde boy, we mean super confident and individualistic. GL positions itself in the middle of men’s fashion. Sometimes it wins. Sometimes it loses.
6. Go plastic, it’s fantastic
Stereotypes are sometimes true, and it’s true that gays love travel. Help your gay gift getter’s next gay travel by buying discount travel cards. Seventeen percent off at BedandBreakfast.com, 13% at Delta Airlines and 4% off at Marriott Hotels will let your gay and maybe his gay guy spread their Xmas farther and wider.
7. Do it digitally
That phone in your pocket does more than record InstaStories. Apps such as ScanLife, ShopSavvy and ShopAdvisor let you price compare from your phone anytime anywhere.
If you see the perfect gift at one store, scan the bar code and these apps will let you know how that price compares to online prices and other stores in your area. Some even let you set alerts to notify you when that perfect gift meets your perfect price.
8. Play in the box
Some of the best gifts are those that give all year long. Remind the man or men in your life just how much you care by reminding them every month how much you care.
With Crate Joy Gift Box Subscriptions’ numerous creative monthly gift subscriptions, you’re bound to find the perfect box for even the most particular of gift recipients. Some of our favorites include:
- Unicorn Dream Box: There’s nothing more perfectly gay than a rainbow and unicorn-themed monthly gift box for the gayest of gays this holiday. Described as “a monthly subscription box full of magic and pixie dust,” your guy will get unicorn erasers and key chains, rainbow suckers and even a unicorn floaty for their poolside libations.
- Culture Carton: From beatnik reads to hipster face wash, the Culture Carton will keep your coolest gay well-groomed and dignified for many months.
- VetPet Box: Most gay couples, nearly 80%, don’t and won’t have kids, at least the human kind. If the gay guys in your life treat their pets like the neighborhood helicopter parent, then the VetPet subscription box will be their favorite gift.
Sprezza Box: If you’re looking for a more sophisticated subscription, Sprezza Box is what you need. Give the most stylish cufflinks and coaster and the latest neckties and Nectar Polarized Sunglasses to the most stylish of men.
9. Skip the coupon clip
Gone are the days of clipping coupons from the Sunday paper, and your hands and the Earth thank you.
Download Ibotta to your phone and find immediate discounts and rebates on items you already buy from your favorite stores, restaurants, grocers and movie theaters when you scan receipts with your smartphone camera. These discount and rebate savings can go towards holiday gifts.
Get immediate in-store and online discounts to thousands of retailers with even more coupons by using the RetailMeNot website or app and SlickDeals. These sites are great for finding gifts or, as above, getting things you already buy at a discount and putting your saving towards holiday gifts
Download Chrome’s Honey to your computer to get applicable discounts, free shipping and holiday promotions automatically applied to your holiday shopping buy.
10. Let’s get physical
Follow in Turkey Trots’s trots and do a Reindeer Run, or any physical activity with friends and family, such as biking, hiking or even walking. Get Zen with your best friends and go yoga. Volunteer at a food shelter. Do your best “Secret Santa” and quietly drop homemade cookies at your neighbor’s door (nevermind if one or two ends up in your belly, too).
Spread cheer at your local alternative-retirement community. Many older queer people were shunned from their families before the acceptance we have today. A visit from you may be the best holiday they’ve had in years.
11. Christmas savings hack o’ yore
It’s not as slick and fancy as an app created by a Silicon Valley neo-genius, but this tip works because retailers know that in the cyber-world email addresses are crimson and gold.
Go to the sites of your favorite stores, such as Macy’s, Target, Nordstrom and H&M, and subscribe to their email lists. Throughout the year and especially during the holidays, retailers offer email subscribers coupons, discounts, promotions and free delivery straight to your inbox.
12. Elf on the Shelf Shop
There’s an online shopping trick we call Elf-on-the-Shelf Shopping. It pains online retailers like the 12 Days of Christmas song when you place items in your online shopping cart and don’t immediately buy them. For certain stores or items, if you leave an item in the shopping cart for a few days you’ll get either discount offers for your abandoned item or the retailer will notify you when the price on your abandoned item has been reduced.
13. Just say “No”
The best ways to say, yes is to say, “no.”
One of the reasons this time of year is hard for so many is because they’re in conflict with who they are or want to be and who they feel compelled to be for the holidays. They’re forced into inauthenticity, like Madonna’s British accent.
Say “no” to some Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday and kindergarten graduation invitations, because you can’t celebrate everyone’s everything and still celebrate yourself. Embrace the power of “no” and stay on track to becoming the best you you can be.
With these 13 Christmas savings hacks and this Holiday Budget in our Dynamic Budget, you’ll skate through this holiday season better than Nancy Kerrigan did the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Happy stress-free, debt-free holidays!