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The holidays are upon us, and even with Thanksgiving still two weeks away, shoppers are gearing up to face crowded stores, long lines, and consumer frenzy as days count down. PwC predicts that this year, the average American will spend $1,189 on the holidays. Considering all the spending you might be doing, it may seem like you have to throw your savings out the window in order to buy gifts for everyone on your list. Not so. We put together a $500 savings challenge with tips to help you save up for and during the holidays. Save about $75 a week, for at total of $525 in 7 weeks.

 

  1. Make Your Favorite Meals in Advance, and Freeze For the Week.

Your days get busy, and it may seem easier to grab lunch from the restaurant closest to work than to spend time in the morning putting lunch together. However, these lunch expenses add up. Instead of eating out, consistently bring your own lunch to work. Use this hack to make five days worth of healthy lunches, then store them in your freezer and simply let thaw the night before. You can also use the same hack for dinners, to avoid the temptation to eat out.

Total Saved: $20 a week

 

  1. Consider investing in a Thermos – and bringing your coffee with you when you’re on the go.

According to a report from Money Matters, the average American spends about $1,100 a year on coffee. Save around $10 a week simply by making your coffee at home, and take a pass on the expensive Starbucks lattes.

Total Saved: $6 a week

 

  1. Clean out your closet

In Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the author advises you to get rid of anything that “doesn’t bring you joy.” Do you have a collection of old books and records? Clothes in your closet that haven’t fit you for years? Bring them to a consignment shop – you’ll get a portion of the profit for what you sell. Or, sell them online from an e-retailer like Amazon or Ebay. You could make around $200 just by selling 15-20 good-condition items lying around your house.

Total Saved: $28 a week

 

  1. Cancel your unused memberships

Do you pay $30 a month for a gym membership you never use? What about Costco or another retail membership? These memberships may look like they’re saving you money, but that only depends on the frequency with which you use them. Carefully consider how much you are saving per month, vs. how much you’re paying for a membership. If the cost outweighs the savings, cancel!

Total Saved: $8 a week

 

  1. Make your own gifts

Instead of spending a fortune at a retailer, consider a more personalized approach to gift giving. Easy gifts include personalized photo albums or picture frames; home-made candles in mason jars; or a batch of homemade chocolates. Find ideas on Pinterest, and use your local dollar store for low-cost craft materials. Save a hundred dollars with this gift hack for the holiday season.

Total Saved: $13 a week