As the weather starts to cool down and the winter and holiday season gets closer, you may be looking at your bank account in shock. It can feel stressful and overwhelming figuring out how you will pay for holiday gifts. The good news is there are some steps you can take to trim down costs so you have more money available this holiday season. Keep reading for helpful tips on ways to save money before the holiday season hits.

Monitor and Cut Down Utility Usage

Many families overspend on utility costs, especially during very cold and hot months. With careful monitoring and making small changes, you can cut down on your utility usage. Consider talking to your children and other families about their personal energy usage. You can even contact local utility companies, such as Enmax in Alberta to discuss a new energy plan that fits your needs better and may fit within your budget more.

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Shop Online

If you can, why not start shopping online for your holiday gifts? This can be a great way to take advantage of extra coupon deals and savings as many companies run extra promotions. In many cases, retailers also offer free or low-cost shipping when ordering online before the holidays hit. This means you can get items shipped direct to your door without having to leave your home.

Apply for Credit Cards with Great Points Systems

It’s important to be careful when making money choices, such as applying for credit cards. With careful spending and repayment, a credit card can be a great way to save even more during the holidays. Many credit cards offer great points systems, which means you can get cash back or other bonuses for spending the money you already plan to spend. Make sure that you compare various options and understand how points build up and transfer before applying.

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Eat at Home

Going out to eat may be a tempting option if you have a busy schedule, but it can quickly wear away at your wallet. The good news is that cooking and eating at home doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Consider shopping for sale items at the store and cooking one day a week. Forbes notes that by using coupons and shopping the weekly sale flyer, you can save even bigger. You can make a couple meals for the week and have them all boxed up to make life a lot easier. Over time, cooking and eating at home can lessen your food expenses greatly. It can also be healthier than eating out all the time.

Work Extra

While it may seem impossible, you can save even more by doing extra work before the holiday season. Many retailers will be hiring for part-time seasonal workers. In addition, you may want to look into freelance opportunities. Do you have a skill such as graphic design, writing, or social media? You can use these skills to make extra money before the holiday season hits. Try advertising and also searching for gigs online.

With the above tips, you can make a big difference and save on more money before the holiday season hits. Shopping for holiday gifts doesn’t have be stressful!