The holidays can be a great time to relax and enjoy being with family. However, they can also be expensive — from holiday shopping to family meals and travel. If you’re unsure you have the money to cover all your holiday expenses this year, there are plenty of ways to cut those costs or find additional funds to afford everything. This article will dive into five ways you can stretch your holiday budget further this holiday season.

1. Get an installment loan

Installment loans let you borrow large amounts at a fixed interest rate. You can repay this holiday loan with fixed monthly principal and interest payments. This makes it easy to determine how much you need to borrow for your holiday shopping and travel and budget for repayment.

You can apply for an installment loan at a lender’s store location or online from the comfort of your home. Some lenders offer same-day funding, so you can receive the funds you need quickly to cover holiday expenses.

2. Become a freelancer

Freelancing involves learning a skill or using one you already have to make money on your schedule. You can choose when you work and what you’ll charge, then find clients. For example, you could become a freelance writer and write blog posts, website copy, emails, and other content for clients. Or, if you have design skills, you could try freelance web design. You’ll help clients create attractive, on-brand websites that pull in customers and help them make sales.

Regardless, the Internet has made it easy to launch these and other freelance careers without leaving home. Freelancer marketplaces like Upwork, social media sites like LinkedIn, and job boards like Indeed all have freelance roles available.

3. Perform gig work

Gig work is similar to freelancing in that you control your schedule. However, tasks tend to be simpler and easier to find. For example, services like Doordash let you earn money delivering food and store items to customers. Meanwhile, services like Uber and Lyft let you get paid to drive people around.

You don’t need a car for gig work, though. Various websites can connect you to gigs like housesitting, dog walking, yard work, and much more.

4. Buy discounted gift cards

Certain gift card marketplace websites sell gift cards at a discount on what the card is worth. For example, a website might sell a $50 Best Buy gift card for $45. If you know which retailers you will shop at, you can purchase discounted gift cards from one of these sites ahead of time. This could stretch your holiday budget further if you plan your purchases well. Alternatively, the gift cards themselves can be Christmas presents. Get a discounted gift card and give it to a relative or friend to save money.

5. Take advantage of credit card features

Credit cards can stretch your budget far when used wisely. Many cards let you earn cash back on your purchases. This can give you a few bucks back on holiday shopping. Many cards also offer signup bonuses when you sign up. This pays a certain amount if you spend enough in a specific period. Finally, many new cards might offer a promotional 0% APR period. This lets you spread purchases out over 12 to 18 months with 0% interest, making large purchases more affordable.

Consider getting a travel or airline credit card if you’re traveling a lot. That way, you can earn miles on flights and other purchases redeemable for free flights and other rewards in the future.

The bottom line

Financial uncertainty can add unneeded stress during the holidays. But there are tons of ways to bolster your holiday budget and trim your spending. Start by considering an installment loan. This can help you cover much of your shopping and travel with fixed, predictable repayment.

If you don’t want to get a loan, you still have plenty of other options. Consider becoming a freelancer or doing gig work to add to your holiday budget. Meanwhile, look into discounted gift cards to trim your holiday shopping costs or get more inexpensive gifts.

Additionally, take advantage of credit card cashback rewards, signup bonuses, and promotional 0% APR periods. Following these steps will make the holidays a bit less financially stressful. That way, you can spend time and energy on what matters most.

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