The holidays are in full swing in New York City.
The city is full of nostalgic greenery, shimmering lights and enchanting music.
The holiday season truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
But, if you’re on a budget, December in New York City can feel like a nightmare.
Living in NYC isn’t cheap, and a few big purchases can easily put you over budget and in big trouble.
And, according to the NRF, consumers will end up spending 4.1% more this years over the holidays than last year.
But, it actually is possible to save money during the holiday season. You just have to be smart about where you’re putting your money. From downloading the right tools to following a stricter budget, here are six proven ways to save hundreds before the new year.
6 Ways To Save Money During The Holiday Season
1. Use Budgeting Apps
If you’re trying to tighten up your budget but don’t know how these top financial budgeting apps can definitely help.
Apps like Mint and Wally can help you get your finances in order just in time for the New Year.
If can be hard to follow a budget — especially if you don’t even know where to start.
That’s what makes these apps so effective! They make managing your finances, keeping track of your budget and investing your extra cash much simpler.
Downloading these free-to-use personal finance apps is a great first step when it comes to saving cash and getting a tighter rip on your wallet.
2. Eat And Drink Off The Happy Hour Menu
When you live in the city, it can be hard to cut back on your expenditures. And, during the holiday season — with office gatherings, happy hours and parties galore — it’s even harder.
But, one way you can save some extra cash without completely cutting yourself off from your friends is by being more aware of what you’re buying.
For instance, when you go out to dinner, try to order off of the happy hour menu. Almost every bar and restaurant in the city has a happy hour that runs during peak early dinner hours.
During these times, skip the overpriced entrees and snack on the happy hour snacks.
On average, these dishes will be just as filling and will cost you much, much less.
3. Take Your Shopping Outside Of The City
With the holidays in full swing, you’re probably in full shopping mode. But, you don’t have to break your budget by shopping on Fifth Avenue.
Instead, make a day trip out of it and head out of the five boroughs.
In Jersey, upstate New York, and even Delaware (hello, tax-free shopping) you can score much lower prices on the same items you were going to buy within the city limits.
It might take you a bit longer, and there might be an Uber or commuter train involved. But, at the end of the day, you’ll definitely spend much less than you would if you jumped on the C to the West Village.
4. Suggest A Secret Santa Or Yankee Swap
December is the month of holiday festivities. It’s the season of giving. And, if you’re like me, you probably want to give a lot.
But, if you’re trying to save money for New Years, you definitely can’t afford to buy everyone and their mother a gift for the holidays.
Instead of breaking the bank on gifts, suggest a Secret Santa or Yankee Swap at your next holiday party.
On the average, most of these gift swaps won’t cost you more than $30 bucks. And, in the grand scheme of things, that’s nothing.
Not only will this add a layer of excitement and entertainment to the process, but it will also save you hundreds of dollars.
5. Cut Back On Your Splurges
Another key to saving money in the next month is by cutting back on the little extras.
If you buy coffee every morning, try to limit it to one a week — coffee adds up, you know.
Similarly, if you love a good Sweetgreen salad for lunch, try learning about your favorite recipe and make it yourself.
This will save you that 14 dollars you’d spend on your daily greens.
Cutting back on the little extras is sure to add up — up to a hundred dollars a week if you’re lucky. And that’s one of the easiest ways to ensure you’ll have some cushion in your wallet.
6. Follow The 50/30/20 Budgeting Rule
If you’ve never heard of the 50/30/20 rule, here’s a quick breakdown.
This method of budgeting allots a specific percentage of your budget to be spent on given things.
50 percent of your monthly income goes to needs. 30 percent of your monthly income goes to wants. And 20 percent goes to your savings.
This budgeting methodology ensures that you get to splurge, but only to a given percentage.
It’s great for all income levels because it is entirely dependent on what you make.
If you’re trying to make long-term financial changes — and you don’t want to wait for the New Year to make them — the 50/30/20 budgeting rule is a great way to do it.