Plan ahead...Since you know Christmas and cooler temps are coming, start saving money in advance. A great way to do this is to take a set amount out of your paycheck each month and apply it towards those costs. For example, each month take out $50-$75 and put it in a savings account or envelope marked for holiday shopping and/or utility bills. If you do this for the entire year you would have up to $900 saved! That's a big chunk of money for holiday gift giving and utility bills. It's not too late to start for this year!
Spend less...It's great to be a giver but try and find ways to cut back on your spending. With my family we draw names so we have less gifts to purchase. We also do small stocking stuffers for nieces and nephews vs. buying big, expensive items. Consider making homemade crafts or offer a service like babysitting your brother's kids or cooking a meal for your neighbor. Use your special talents as part of your gift giving. If you plan to purchase gifts then watch for sales and consider checking out sites like Groupon or Ebates to save more.
Reduce Utilities....Being warm and cozy in your home feels great but not when you have a hefty heat and electric bill. That can leave you feeling cold! Consider keeping your house a little cooler and put on an extra layer of clothes. Get out those warm fuzzy socks you got for Christmas last year. Unplug items that you are not using (extra lamps, chargers, etc...) and remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room.
Budget....If your holiday spending and utilities are still eating up a lot of your money then it's time to find other areas to reduce your spending in your budget. Instead of going out for that holiday dinner with your friends, consider having a potluck or cookie exchange. There are a plethora of entertaining options during the holidays like live performances and new movies. Instead of getting out the credit card for the spendy activities, consider renting a couple holiday movies from the library and have a little festive party at home. This saves money on the tickets, the extravagant dinner and a new outfit you probably would want to purchase.
Increase Your Income...If each year you struggle with paying bills around and after the holidays, then consider increasing your income. Many retail stores are looking for holiday help or see if you can get in some overtime hours at your job. If you don't want to leave your home during the cold temps there are online opportunities as well. Why not consider babysitting or dog sitting at your house. You may have a talent that could make you some extra income so why not give it a try!
What are some other creative ways that you will avoid the extra debt this winter?
To help free up cash in your budget and make your money go further, consider working with a money coach!