The holiday season is coming to a close, but between all the gifts, tips, festive dinners, parties and charitable donations, you haven’t put your wallet away since Black Friday.
Here’s the good news: With a few strategic moves, it won’t be hard to recoup some cash from the holiday season. Here are 12 ways to put some money back into your wallet and start the new year off right.
DAY 1: PACK A LUNCH
You’ve got a ton of holiday leftovers; why let them go to waste? If you need another reason to brown bag it, consider this: Preparing your own meals not only helps you make healthier choices (hello, New Year’s resolutions) but it can also help you save money — the average household spends $3,000 annually going out to eat.
DAY 2: USE CASH ONLY
The temptation to buy something is powerful when all it takes is a credit card swipe. Even if it means leaving your card at home, try paying for everything in cash for a day. You’ll likely think twice about spending when you’re forced to part with actual bills.
DAY 3: UNSUBSCRIBE FROM PROMOTIONAL EMAILS
You’ve been inundated with sale emails for the last month, so give yourself a break. Learning that an item is on sale can trigger a desire to buy, whether you need it or not. Remove the temptation by opting out.
DAY 4: CANCEL UNNECESSARY SUBSCRIPTIONS
After auditing your email sign-ups, take a look at your subscriptions. Do you really need (or want) every magazine, meal kit and clothing box you receive each month? If many of those items end up piling up or going unused, go ahead and cancel — you’ll be putting more money back in your pocket.
DAY 5: RECONSIDER YOUR GYM MEMBERSHIP
No one wants you to abandon your exercise goals. But practically speaking, if you go once a month to a pricey gym with all the bells and whistles, you may not be getting your money’s worth. Does it make sense to pay for an all-access pass when you only use one location? Can you cancel your gym membership if what you enjoy is your boutique Pilates class? Consider what type of facility or activity best suits your lifestyle.
DAY 6: NEGOTIATE YOUR BILLS
Do you have your phone, cable and internet with one provider? Ask for a bundle discount if you’re not already getting one. Or maybe you’ve had the same credit card for a long time, and you could use a break on your interest rate. Many companies are willing to offer discounts to their loyal customers if asked.
DAY 7: CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSETS
No need to wait for spring to start decluttering. Maybe you have a pair of boots you wore once or a bike your child outgrew that could use a new home — and help you earn a little extra cash. There are many apps and sites that can help you sell your old stuff, including eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark or Mercari.
DAY 8: REDEEM YOUR REWARDS POINTS
If you earned credit card points or cash back from your holiday shopping (or have been saving them up for the right moment), now is as good a time as any to redeem those rewards.
DAY 9: SELL UNUSED GIFT CARDS
DAY 10: PLAN A BUDGET-FRIENDLY SOCIAL OUTING
Catching up with friends usually involves a few pricey drinks or dinners out. Plan a date with a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with but make it budget-friendly. Maybe it’s coffee instead of cocktails, or popcorn and a movie at your place, rather than eating at an expensive restaurant. Planning quality time doesn’t have to put a dent in your wallet.
DAY 11: GET YOUR DIY ON
While the big gift-giving season may be over, it won’t be long before the next birthday or anniversary rolls around. Love to bake, knit, make photo books or do woodworking? Leverage those creative hobbies into money-saving gifts. Chances are the recipient will appreciate it more than a store-bought gift.
DAY 12: RESOLVE TO STICK TO A BUDGET
OK, this isn’t something you can do in a day, but in the long run, it’ll help you save. Sticking to a budget is a big part of how you’ll reach your financial goals, so make it a resolution and set up a game plan to help yourself succeed.