The holidays spell money spending like no other time of the year.  People are spending hundreds on gifts and most don’t have that money saved up.  Cue the credit cards.  In an effort to save some money this holiday season (if you haven’t started already), start your saving now.

Here 9 ways that can help you start saving today  for the holidays.

 1. Check out Paribus

Anytime you purchase something online, keep the receipt.  Paribus will go through your email looking for receipts and if it finds any from their retailer list, they will monitor the price.  If the price drops, they will refund you the difference.  Now this is not going to make you hundreds of dollars, but it is an easy way to accumulate some money.  If you do a lot of online shopping, this may prove fruitful and there is no work involved on your end.

2. Swagbucks for the win

Surveys are an easy way to make some money.  Swagbucks is one of the most popular rewards program sites that offers surveys.  They offer other things to earn money too, but surveys gives you the most bang for your buck.  When you sign up, they will offer you to fill out surveys to earn rewards.  The amount of rewards or Swagbucks (as they are called), you get will depend.  You can get a few hundred Swagbucks for participating in a 20-minute questionnaire.  Once you get 500, they give you a five dollar gift card to vendors like Amazon.

Now how much money you make can obviously vary depending on how much time you put in.  So while you are watching TV or  instead of surfing Facebook, do this.  You could easily earn some good cash that will add up nicely before the holidays hit.

3. Sign up with the right credit card

Cash back credit cards can be a great way to earn some extra income.  The one caveat is that you need to be good with money and the card needs to be paid off in full each month.  If you can do it, then you should definitely sign up for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.   You get unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and if you spend $500 in the first three months, you will get a cool $150.  Another great perk is that it offers 0% interest for 15 months.

4. Sign up with Ebates

This is another cash back site that rewards you with points for shopping online.  The points can then be redeemed for gift cards.  You get a $10 Walmart gift card for giving the site a try.  Spend a minimum of $25 to start earning reward points.   The only downside is that they only pay quarterly, so this one you need to get going at the beginning of the year.

5. Have a separate savings account

Any time you want to save money, you need to keep it out of your checking account.  The easiest way to do this is by opening a separate savings account.  Whether you open it at a local bank or you use something like Varo money, you will be doing yourself a favor.  The good thing about Varo is that they are paying  1.5% Annual Percentage Yield which is more than any other bank. They also don’t have a minimum balance requirement and no service fees.

6. Become an Uber or Lyft driver

Becoming an Uber or Lyft driver is a super easy way to make extra money.  You make your schedule and the amount of money you make is directly correlated to how much time you want to put in.  You just need to be at least 21 and have a year of driving under your belt.  You also need to pass a background check and your car needs to be no older than 2007. You can really save a nice chunk of change if you are willing to dedicate some time to this.

7. Get cash back on your groceries

Ibotta is an app that offers coupons from participating stores.  Buy those products and upload your receipt.  The app will scan it for the items and any coupon matches you will get money back from.  Add up at least $20 cash back and you can request payment via Venmo or PayPal.

Currently, if you sign up now, they are giving a ten dollar sign-up bonus.  This isn’t going to get you rich, but it will add some more money to your holiday fund and any little bit counts.

8. Cut back on spending

Cut out the morning Starbucks run and the lunches out and you can save quite a bit doing that alone.  Take it a step further and eliminate other ongoing expenses.  If you have monthly subscriptions that you can cut out for a bit (you may even realize you don’t need them) do it.  Maybe you don’t need the gym for the next few months.  Take up running or some other exercise if you can.  We take for granted those $10-$30 we spend here and there but saving that can really add up.

9. Search for free activities

There are so many activities that do not involve spending a lot of money whether you have kids or not.  Look for local events within your town, have movie nights, throw a potluck dinner and have friends over, hit the beach, go for a bike ride..the list is endless.  Saving money is not that tough to do when you make the decision to cut back on your spending.

Final thoughts

With the holidays approaching, people tend to reach for the credit card and rack up the bills.  This is no way to start off the new year, in debt.  In order to set yourself up better, start saving now.  There are many ways, including the ones above, that can help you start building that holiday shopping fund.  Also keep in mind you don’t need to go all extravagant, it is the thought that counts and whatever you can give will be appreciated either way.  Happy saving and happy shopping!