Ways to Save Money Around the Holidays | An Interview with Jessica Turner

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With the holiday season upon us, many of us are planning ahead for all the gifts we’ll be giving family and friends, teachers, employees, bosses, neighbors…the list goes on, not to mention all the fun gift exchanges and holiday parties we enjoy participating in. 

Knowing the expenses add up at this time of year, Steph Flies recently spoke with speaker and author Jessica Turner, founder of The Mom Creative, whose focus is on helping women save money and live intentionally. She considers herself a one-stop resource for moms so they can enjoy the holidays to the fullest while being smart about their spending and planning ahead for future gift-giving.

You can find the recent podcast at our Just Add Sprinkles library, but if you don’t have time in your busy schedule to listen right now, below is a list of the best tips we took away from the conversation. (You can find more by following Jessica on Instagram at @jessicanturner or www.themomcreative.com where you can connect to her various social channels.)

TOP HOLIDAY MONEY-SAVINGS TIPS FROM JESSICA TURNER:

  • START EARLY: don’t wait until December 1 to start shopping for gifts – don’t even wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Always be on the lookout for deals and discounts throughout the year so that by December 1, you’re mostly done and haven’t paid full-price on items that were previously discounted.
  • GET CREATIVE: If you want to give similar gifts to several people, consider buying gifts sets and splitting them apart. For example, you can find a wine monthly subscription service and have them all delivered at the same time, then split the bottles up and give to several teachers in a gift, at a fraction of the price.
  • THINK AHEAD: Rather than buy a new cozy blanket for $30 to give to a neighbor or teacher, look for discounts on blankets throughout the year and buy multiples that you can gift throughout the year. Jessica shared the example of a favorite $21 Target blanket being discounted down to $2.99 each. She bought several and stored them away to give as gifts as opportunities came up.
  • CREATE STORAGE: Whether it’s your “gift” closet or a bin full of gifting necessities, have a central location where you keep future gifts that you’ve collected throughout your shopping trips. Come holiday season, you might find you actually have quite a few gifts on hand already that would make a perfect gift for a neighbor or gift exchange!
  • SHOPPING FOR TEACHERS AND SCHOOL STAFF: Sometimes it’s tempting to want to get really creative and find that perfect gift for your teacher and make it really stand out, but over and over again teachers remind us that the perfect gift is a gift card. Imagine how rewarding it would be for a teacher to receive 10 gifts cards to Target versus 10 coffee mugs that they’ll never be able to use or candle scents they don’t like. Also, many school staff and faculty just want to be acknowledged, so a simple $5 gift card or small bottle of wine is appropriate. Watch for discounts on gift cards at Costco or Target or local favorite stores.
  • START WISH LISTS EARLY: When the kids are younger it’s easy to guide their wishes and actually help them write lists full of things you’ve already purchased. “Hey buddy, doesn’t this Spiderman toy look really neat?” – all the while knowing you already bought it at a huge discount! You can also tell kids that Santa’s elves like to get an early start so that puts a little pressure on them to truly think about what Santa could bring them in a few months.
  • TRACK YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING: MomCreative.com has several tools that can help you track what you’ve bought, how much you spent per gift and/or recipient, what’s being shipped/already delivered, if it’s wrapped or still needs to be…it’s truly a great resource for keeping track instead of keeping it all in your head! Of course Google spreadsheets and several apps can help with this, as well.  
  • SHOP THE GROCERY STORE CIRCULARS: there are plenty of apps that can help you compare your local grocery store ads, and there are a ton of tips over at www.momcreative.com for putting together meal plans and shopping lists.
  • SPLIT THE MEAL DUTIES: If you’re hosting a holiday meal or party, it’s perfectly fine to ask others to contribute with a dish or drink. Or cater and ask everyone to chip in!

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