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The holidays should be full of joy, happiness, time with family and friends, and the creation of precious memories.
Often, though, the busyness and strain from added expenses and to-dos turn them into anything but the most wonderful time of the year. Recently I shared a post with you on how important it is to step back and realign with what really matters during this busy season.
Today I’m tackling the other half of the problem by sharing how to track and save! Once you get your holiday budget under control it’s a lot easier to enjoy the season.
First off, let’s start with the saving–because once you get a good handle on that you’ll have more money to put back into that gift budget you’re tracking!
For savings I’m sharing a great app with you that you might not already know about! It’s Hopster Mobile Rebates! One of the best ways to get more money for holiday fun is by saving on the items you already buy. You can download it here and start saving because it’s super simple to use! You just follow these steps:
Step 1: Choose your rebates from a large selection of brands
You’ll find rebates for your favorite groceries, beauty essentials, pet supplies, plus new products you’ll want to try.
Step 2: Shop at your favorite store — most of the rebates you can redeem from *any store* or you can pick from a list of your favorite retailers!
Step 3: Take a picture of your receipt showing the items you purchased–it walks you through exactly how to do it!
Step 4. Rebates will be redeemed and the cash credited to your PayPal account as soon as the redemption is validated. That means you don’t have to wait to reach a certain number or value of redeemed offers!
You can see for yourself how simple and great this is for saving! As you make your shopping list it’s so easy to hop on, scan for items you can take advantage of rebates on, and then scan in the receipt right after you put the items away! All those rebates can add up to a nice little chunk of change to roll into your holiday budget. Which brings us to the tracking part!
The best ways to track your holidays and helpful tips before you dive in!
I’ve mentioned this to you before, but it really is such a lifesaver each year! This year I’ll also cover a few things you’ll want to do in case you’ve been using this or a different system before!
Set A Budget
I know, I know, but trust me, knowing how much you *can* spend actually frees you up to enjoy it and not stress out. Sit down with whoever else is involved in the money situation in your house and come up with a budget to stick to.
(Tip: Start using Hopster and also think outside the box for ways to save on normal things during the holiday months. Maybe you can cut back on a service or plan. Take your extra savings and put it right into your holiday budget!)
Make A List & Check It Twice
Growing up and getting married and all having babies is super-ly amazing and fabulous!!! It does make for a long, long, long Christmas list after just a few years, though! And things can get awkward when you keep buying presents, and they stop, or vice versa. This year have a pow-wow with your extended family. Often you might find that they’d prefer one family gift they all can enjoy, they just want gifts for the kids, or you might discover it actually blesses everyone the most if you no longer exchange gifts. Just like the budgeting thing, it’s far better to clarify in advance, then to be disappointed when reality strikes.
Make & Track Using a Spreadsheet
As you can see I’ve been using this system for over 5 years now because it’s that awesome! I put in everyone on my list, put in ideas for gifts before I buy them and then fill in the prices when I actually purchase them, and fill in the slots so I know what has been purchased, wrapped, and shipped for our out of state family. At the bottom I have formulas that automatically add up the totals for each column, and also show my savings.
This is super easy-peasy to create for yourself–but I’m making it even easier for you!! Here is a blank gift tracking sheet just for you!
So, to use this you’ll want to go up to where it says File at the top menu bar. Click on it then go down to “Make a Copy” here you can name it, and save it to your drive. Then it is private to you and you can customize it for your own personal holiday tracking! If you have any questions about how to tweak it further just drop me a comment and ask!
By putting these simple steps into practice this year you’ll save money and sanity this holiday season! Don’t forget to get started by downloading the Hopster App here!