Come holiday season, there are two near certainties thanks to the onslaught of parties, dinners, and social gatherings that will dominate your calendar from now until the New Year. Your waist will expand, and your wallet will shrink. Preventing the former from happening is pretty simple—just pass on that extra glass of eggnog and that second helping of glazed ham, and you should be in the clear. But when it comes to spending your entire paycheck on gifts for friends and family, well, that's much trickier to avoid. Thankfully, the fine folks at Business Insider collected some tips and strategies from experts in the field of saving. Below, find four ways to make sure your piggy bank isn’t totally empty come 2017.
Sometimes the easiest way to avoid doing something is by cutting out all the triggers that make you follow a certain impulse. In the case of spending, sometimes just seeing your credit card in your wallet might give you the urge to spend. If that is indeed the case, Lifehacker suggests just blocking your credit card with a makeshift paper sleeve. This trick is especially effective if you jot down your savings goal on the sleeve itself.
Stockpiling your loose change is another easy way to save during the holidays. This technique is especially crucial if you’re making purchases using cash, says Anna from the blog And Then We Saved. Who knows? If you save enough coins over the holidays, you might just have enough to buy a brand-new piggy bank in which to store them.
A key mental trick that could come in handy this time of year is called “the stranger test.” According to Business Insider, “When deciding whether or not to make a purchase, imagine a stranger offering your would-be purchase in one hand and the cash it would take to buy it in the other. If you’d rather accept the cash, you might as well keep that money in your pocket.”
Finally, instead of going on a spending free with a group of friends, Trent Hamm, founder of The Simple Dollar and author of 365 Ways to Live Cheap, suggests shopping alone. “There are many more opportunities for impulsiveness with multiple people than there is with one person,” Hamm writes. “A single person equipped with a planned shopping list has the least chance to slip an impulsive purchase into the cart, so go alone to save some money in the checkout aisle.”
What are your tips for saving over the holidays?