As our office views turn white, and the radio starts playing those familiar merry jingles, we’re reminded, rather loudly, that the holiday season has officially begun. And with it, warm winter flavours, overcrowded family gatherings, and of course- that dreaded holiday budget.
In the past, we’ve decorated our blog with various wish lists and affordable gift guides, but this year, we’re humbled by a stark fact: The U.S’ poverty rate. Currently still hovering around 12%, that number may seem small, but when put into perspective (38.1 million people), it starts feeling a whole lot bigger. So we understand that holiday shopping for some becomes about making sacrifices- a smaller meal, layering up instead of turning on the heat, or even forgoing some of your other payments.
But of course, we’re not just here to talk about the harsh realities of feeding a family on a low income. We’re here to show you how removing some bills can help your holiday budget grow. Whether for a larger present, a newer set of decorative lights, or even an extra day off to spend with loved ones.
While the holidays try to be a time for joy and cheer, we know that it’s hard to get in the spirit when you have overdue bills to pay. So where do you make the cuts?
Let’s start at the beginning: Your bank.
A place where you keep your hard-earned money safe, but also a place where you’re susceptible to losing that said money on piling fees. Between the monthly fees, overdraft fees, account use fees, ATM fees…(ran out of breath). You get the point.
NerdWallet suspects that the average cost of banking is nearly $1,000 over a decade. And even though that only amounts to $100/year on average, that’s funding that can easily be spent on an extra grocery run (or two) for a holiday dinner, or an extra set of presents for your loved ones.
Our recommendation? Switch to a consumer-friendly online bank, like Chime. It absorbs the fees for you, and even gives you benefits like early direct deposits, rounded-up purchases, and forgiven overdraft withdrawals.
Next, your phone bill.
According to a study published in 2018, the average American pays $67/month on their cell phone bill. And that’s not counting the cost for any additional lines through a family plan.
If you could get back $70 spent on a phone service every month, by the next holiday season, you’d have saved up $840. That’s enough for a roundtrip train ticket to see family, Clark Griswold- inspired decorations, or simply to keep and save for the next rainy day. If we didn’t make it clear by now, using free phone service in an app like TextNow can help you do just that. You can take your number with you on your phone, your tablet, or even computer at work. So you’re never out of reach, but hopefully within budget.
Oh, Wish-You-Could-Grow-Actual-Money Tree!
Lastly, there is the question of presents. More specifically, how do you get them what they want— a new phone— without the $1000 price tag?
Part of keeping the holiday spirit alight is the ability to give back. To some, that may mean volunteering more in their community. To others, offering up a sizeable donation to a worthy cause. But put quite simply, giving back can mean literally giving back. As in, passing down an old phone, or finding a used one to gift. It protects your budget, the environment, and doesn’t leave them empty handed.
So there you have it. How to celebrate this holiday season without sacrificing your food or housing budget. And remember: It truly is a time to spend time together, whether that’s with family, friends, coworkers, or even text pals a continent away. And if you can’t physically be there, TextNow will always keep you available with just a free text or a phone call away.