The holiday season is now in full swing, and if you feel like you haven’t put your wallet away since Black Friday, you’re not alone. We’re shelling out for gifts, tips, charitable donations, decorations, travel, holiday parties, family dinners — the list goes on and on (and on).
The good news: There are ways to save to help offset all the spending. Here are 12 simple ways to put some money back *into* your wallet this month.
Day 1: Unsubscribe From Promotional Emails
Knowing something’s on sale can often trigger you to buy, whether or not you actually needed anything. And shoppers who chase sales are actually 45% more likely to overspend than those who don’t. So remove the temptation by opting out of those “You Don’t Want to Miss This Sale!!!” emails and being strategic with your holiday shopping by sticking to a list and comparing prices.
Day 2: Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions
After auditing your email subscriptions, take a look at the other subscriptions in your life. You may find you no longer need all the meal kit, clothing, makeup, skincare, dog toy, stationery and snack sampler boxes you’re receiving each month. And fewer monthly expenses means more money in your budget.
Day 3: Freeze Your Gym Membership
If you’ll be traveling a lot over the next few weeks and won’t be able to get to the gym as often as you’d like (or as often as makes the monthly fee worth it), consider freezing your membership to save a little money. The same goes for any other recurring monthly expenses you won’t be able to take full advantage of. You can always pick it back up later, but for now, why pay for something you aren’t using?
Day 4: Bring Your Lunch
We can hear you groaning already, but hear us out. People spend an average of $11 every time they buy lunch. So if you’re buying food every weekday, that’s $55 — just for lunch.
This time of year makes it easier than ever to brown-bag it. With all of those meals out with friends and various holiday parties, you’ll likely be heading home with more leftovers than you’ll know what to do with. Except now you do know what to do with them: It’s called lunch.
Day 5: Clean Out Your Closet
You don’t need to wait for spring to start cleaning out your closet and other storage (read: hoarding) spots. The boots you wore once and never again? The bike your kid outgrew? Sell them (these apps are a good place to start) and say hello to some extra cash *and* extra space.
Day 6: Rent Your Space
Maybe you’ll be traveling for the next few weeks, or maybe you have an extra room or guesthouse no one’s using. Either way, these can be prime spaces to rent out on a home-sharing site like Airbnb, especially if you live in a sought-after area with seasonal attractions.
Day 7: Pick Up a Seasonal Side Gig
Nearly every store has a “help wanted” sign this time of year, making it easier than ever to pick up few extra shifts to supplement your regular income. And if retail isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other opportunities this time of year, like shoveling snow, cleaning out rain gutters, selling crafts or baked goods, or tutoring high school students for the SATs.
Day 8: Negotiate Your Bills
You know how you’ve been paying the same bill every month for your phone, cable and internet? See if you can do something about that. After all, you’ve been a loyal customer and many companies will make sure to keep it that way, in the form of a little something off your monthly bill. And if you really can’t stand the thought of asking for a lower price, these haggling services will do it for you.
Day 9: Redeem Your Rewards Points
If you’ve been saving up your credit card points, this could be a great time to redeem them to save money on some of your larger holiday expenses, like travel or gifts. And if you’re not sure how best to redeem your points for travel, our guide can help.
Day 10: Check Deal Sites
Sites like Groupon or Gilt can help you gift someone the perfect present at a lower cost. If you know your sister-in-law would love a facial, check deal sites like these first to see if you can find it for less.
Day 11: Sell Unused Gift Cards
Check your wallet for any unused gift cards you’ve been hanging onto since, well, last holiday season and sell them on sites like Cardpool, Raise and Gift Card Granny to put some usable funds in your holiday budget. And if you need to purchase a gift card or two yourself, you can also use these sites to buy them at discounted rates.
Day 12: Get Creative
Love to bake? Make jewelry on the side? Have a gift for knitting? This is the perfect time to leverage your creative hobbies for money-saving gifts. Plus, your coworkers will probably appreciate homemade cookies way more than *another* pen and notepad set.