11 Ways to Save $500 Before Black Friday

With summer slipping behind us and autumn activities beckoning, it’s time for a reality check: Holiday shopping season is just weeks away.

Saving an extra $500 now will add to your festivities while keeping a holiday debt hangover at bay. It doesn’t have to be painful. Put $36 a week away now, and you’ll have $504 to spend by Black Friday (Nov. 29).

Here are 11 ways to make it happen:

1. Check your everyday spending

PKpix / Shutterstock.com
PKpix / Shutterstock.com

Track your spending with a paper and pen, or a service such as You Need a Budget, a partner of Money Talks News. Seeing where your money goes will help you find places to save.

Need more help? Check out “4 Rules for Creating a Painless Budget.”

2. Declutter for dollars

Kellis / Shutterstock.com
Kellis / Shutterstock.com

Sell that stuff you don’t use anymore. It’s probably just taking up room in your home or garage — or, worse, in a rented storage unit. Clear a room every week — and your basement, attic and garage — and you might make enough to pay for all your holiday shopping. When the holidays roll around, you’ll also have a tidier home.

You may also want to seek a local consignment shop to sell your goods for you. While many consignment stores specialize in clothing, some focus on antiques, baby items or furniture.

3. Pocket insurance savings

Nyanza / Shutterstock.com
Nyanza / Shutterstock.com

Increasing your deductible from $250 to $1,000 on your car or homeowners insurance policy could put a couple hundred bucks in your pocket. A deductible is the amount of money you agree to pay on an insurance claim before your coverage kicks in. Having a higher deductible on your policy usually means you’ll pay a lower premium.

Savings vary and also depend on how much you raise the deductible.

4. Pare monthly payments

Aleksander Markin / Shutterstock.com
Aleksander Markin / Shutterstock.com

Drop a gym membership and instead get cheap workout equipment. Or, just walk, bike or jog your way to fitness. Curtail your cable bill by dropping premium channels or cutting the cord altogether. In the age of smartphones, see if losing your landline will save you money.

5. Withhold less

Idutko / Shutterstock.com
Idutko / Shutterstock.com

Do you get a big income tax refund every April? If so, you’re letting Uncle Sam hold on to more of your paycheck — interest-free — than you need to. You can file a new W-4 with your employer so the company will withhold less each pay period, letting you get more of your income sooner.

You might put to good use money you normally wouldn’t see until next spring.

6. Bank your savings

pogonici / Shutterstock.com
pogonici / Shutterstock.com

Make a goal, like figuring out how much in total you want to spend for each person on your gift list. Then, divide that figure by the number of weeks left to save, and deposit that amount weekly into a savings account set up just for the holidays.

Some banks and credit unions let you set up a sub-account to your regular savings account to accumulate your holiday cash.

You might also boost your automatic payroll deductions at work and have them sent directly to the savings account, or have your bank automatically transfer a set amount weekly from your checking account to your savings account. And use our Solutions Center to find a savings account paying a high rate of interest.

7. Get crafty

Agnes Kantaruk / Shutterstock.com
Agnes Kantaruk / Shutterstock.com

Cash in on the handmade gifts craze by selling your creations. From yard sales and local holiday craft fairs to selling online to a global audience, opportunities abound.

Etsy remains the biggest online crafts marketplace, but don’t overlook Amazon Handmade or other specialty sites.

8. Get a gig

Kzenon / Shutterstock.com
Kzenon / Shutterstock.com

Let a new revenue stream flow your way by taking advantage of the gig economy, which affords you great flexibility.

Rent out a room through Airbnb. Drive a car for Uber. Walk dogs, babysit pets or pick up after them. Bid for a freelance virtual-assistant job on Upwork. Offer to design logos on Fiverr.

9. Get a seasonal job

Marcin Balcerzak / Shutterstock.com
Marcin Balcerzak / Shutterstock.com

Major retailers are already advertising for seasonal workers. These jobs typically include many salespeople in the stores and many warehouse workers to fulfill orders. But they also may need loss-prevention specialists, merchandisers, customer service reps, equipment operators and delivery people.

Also, look for signs in stores around your town. Holiday festivities mean cafes and pizza shops will need to staff up, as well as hire more people to deliver pizzas and hand out take-out menus and fliers.

Check out “Now Is the Time to Get Hired for the Holidays: 13 Tips

10. Take online surveys

Rasulov / Shutterstock.com
Rasulov / Shutterstock.com

Companies looking for feedback are willing to pay for your thoughts in online surveys. Some companies, including Swagbucks, offer surveys and pay in rewards points, gift cards and money.

For much more on that topic, read “Earn Up to $2,700 a Year Watching Videos, Answering Surveys.”

11. Dine in

Nadya Lukic / Shutterstock.com
Nadya Lukic / Shutterstock.com

Why not let your wallet get fat while you make your own dinners? And don’t forget lunches — brown-bagging could save you about $5 a day. And while you may not have to forgo all your tall Pumpkin Spice Lattes, each time you make coffee at home instead of ordering from your favorite barista means you could instead put about $4 in the bank.

Share your holiday savings ideas with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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