It’s the one season we all love, and all dread, year after year. It’s the season of saving money and spending money. Between presents, entertainment, and travel, holiday expenses can add up fast. In 2022 alone, research found that people had planned to spend an average of $1,430 on gifts, travel, and entertainment just throughout the holidays. Millennials take the lead by spending an average of nearly $400 more, bringing their total to about $1,823. Most of that cash goes directly to gifts, at an average of $754—that’s over half of the average budget.
With the holiday season being filled with so much more than just gift-giving, it tends to sneak up and catch us off guard. This year, many will be affected by inflation and purchasing patterns will shift. In a Bankrate survey, 84% of respondents said they would need to try to cut down on their holiday shopping costs, which could lead to a nearly 40% cut in gift purchases. Others stated they would need to rely more on coupons and discounts or purchase from less expensive product lines or knockoffs of name brands.
Fortunately enough, we’ve brought some ways to score extra cash for all your holiday needs this season and in all the seasons to come.
Keep reading to learn all the tactics that will not only save you money but give you more this holiday season:
Your first step: Create a holiday fund
Create a special holiday account in which you can deposit your funds as you earn them. Then, you’ll know that they’ll be waiting for you when you need them—and you can track exactly how much you’ve saved!
Trade in Gift Cards for Cash
On average, a CreditCards.com study has found, Americans have $175 in unused gift card funds. Millennials have an average of $226, while Gen Xers have $180. In total, this equates to $21 billion in unwanted gift card dollars. And usually, these gift cards can’t be returned like other presents.
“So what?” you may ask. Well, those wasted gift card dollars can be easily repurposed. Use these unwanted presents from last year to help pay for this year’s holiday festivities. You can do so by redeeming unused gift cards for cash, which will allow you to tap into an overlooked source of holiday funds.
How does this work? Prepaid2Cash makes this process simple. You can start by downloading the app from the App Store or Google Play! Select “New Transaction” and choose “Gift Card” as the card type. Rest assured that the platform has operated for over two years and is highly secure.
Though the process doesn’t take long, make sure to get started before the holiday season. That way, you’ll have a chance to shop! And of course, if you’re ordering presents online, you’ll be sure they’ll arrive on time. Using Prepaid2Cash, you’ll get up to 92% of the value of your card, depending on the brand. Typically, you’ll receive an offer within minutes of initiating the process, and you can decide whether to move forward. Funds should arrive in your account within 2–3 business days (or instantly, in some cases).
Save Credit Card Rewards
Another awesome idea you can rely on is using a credit card that offers cash back. You can save these rewards for the holidays. You’ll have a pool of funds set aside just for gift shopping and other holiday needs. Add them to your stash of funds from trading in last year’s gift cards, and you may find yourself with a nice chunk of change.
Some credit cards also offer a welcome bonus. If you’re in the market for a new card, that could help with your holiday shopping.
Sell or Return Unused Items
Did you forget to return a new item after the last holiday season? If it’s from a store you might want to shop at, consider returning it for store credit, if possible. Otherwise, try selling it on Facebook Marketplace or your local classifieds.
Look in your closet and garage as well for items that still have value, but that you no longer need. Then post them too—you’ll be clearing out space and getting extra money!
Another option could also be to rent out things you don’t need—everything from a ping pong table to strollers. If they’re in good shape, there’s likely to be a market for them.
Once you’ve squirreled some funds away, spend them wisely. First, create a holiday budget with separate categories for shopping, food, entertainment, and travel. Make a list of what you want to buy in advance, so you’ll be less prone to making impulse buys. Then, as you shop, look at price comparison websites like Keepa, which shows average prices paid on Amazon.
Take a Break from Dining Out
Challenge yourself to make all (or most of) your meals at home for a set period, such as a month. Put the savings into a special fund for the holidays. Depending on your shopping habits, you could also challenge yourself to give up something else for a while. For example, give up that morning coffee purchase in favor of brewing up a pot at home. Tally up the savings each week and drop the cash into your holiday account.
You can also use an app like Rakuten to shop throughout the year. Such apps will let you earn cash back from your purchases, which you could then use for the holidays. Better yet, through reward stacking—using a credit card with cash-back rewards along with one of these apps—you can maximize what you get back, notes CNBC.
As you take these steps, you’ll expand your holiday cash so you can afford those special gifts. Plus, you’ll have extra on hand for restaurants, movies, travel, or whatever else you want to splurge on. Then you can enjoy your holiday season without stressing about how to afford the festivities! It’s the gift of giving—except this time you’re giving yourself money in your wallet.