It’s the holiday season, and most of us are looking to save money anywhere we can. I wanted to share some tips to help you save money both during and after the holidays. Here are my top 5 money-saving tips you may not know about.
- Use credit cards that offer reward points. I’ve mentioned before that I think maintaining a decent credit score is important for your financial future. I know some people are uncomfortable with using any type of credit card. They worry that they’ll get into debt and pay high interest rates. If you truly think you can’t handle a credit card, then you shouldn’t use one. But if you can use one and pay it off every month, you won’t pay any interest. And if you can do that with a credit card that offers rewards, you’ll actually come out ahead. I use a card that gives me 1% cashback on everything, and 5% cashback on certain categories. Every year or two, I have a few hundred dollars that I can cash out and use towards whatever I want. I bought a VitaMix blender with my cashback rewards last year. Using rewards made me feel a lot less guilty about spending $400 on a blender! Some credit cards offer sign-up bonuses as well. Here’s a list of top rewards cards for 2015. Side note: My VitaMix is the best blender I’ve ever had and is supposed to last for 20 years. It grinds chia seeds and nuts into nothing.
- Get a rewards savings and/or checking account. This is along the same lines as credit card reward points. Essentially you can make extra money by doing the same things you normally do. Some banks offer accounts that give you higher interest rates if you meet certain conditions. Usually you need to do at least one direct deposit per month into the account. And you have to use the debit card associated with the account a certain number of times. But you can sometimes earn more than 3% interest if you meet these requirements. And that’s a big deal in a time where the average savings account brings in .06% interest. Here’s a list of the top rewards account in the U.S.
- Take advantage of your local library. I’ve talked about this several times, but I can’t mention it enough. Libraries give you access to a wealth of education and entertainment resources. I get the majority of my ebooks and audiobooks through the library, and it’s all free. And my library also offers streaming video and music, as well as video game rentals. Most people I mention this to are clueless about everything their library offers. So I think it’s definitely an under-used resource.
- Make your own household cleaners. The money-savings are important here, but so is exposing yourself to as few toxins as possible. You’d be amazed what you can do with a little vinegar, baking soda and salt. I clean most of the surfaces in my house with a mixture of vinegar and water, and it works great. Baking soda and vinegar also work well to scrub toilets. These items are dirt cheap, and I don’t have to worry about my dog licking up nasty chemicals after I use them. Here’s a link to some household cleaner recipes. You’ll probably already have many of the ingredients you need.
- Make gifts that come from the heart (and don’t cost that much). I know many of you may scoff at homemade gifts, but they don’t have to seem childish or cheap. When I was in my jewelry-making phase, I made my sister a bracelet with her name on it, and she still wears it to this day. The beads were crystal and sterling silver, but believe it or not, the bracelet only cost me $20 to make. My boyfriend once made me a tiny vase out of a lightbulb, and I loved it. The idea that he spent time making me something really meant a lot. Here’s some other ideas for inexpensive homemade gifts.
Have a money-saving tip that’s not on this list? Please share it in the comments below.