Christmas is notoriously a time when people rack up tons of debt buying gifts for their loved ones but once the holiday lights dim and the new year rolls by, and those credit card bills arrive and they have to open up those depleted bank account statements, it's never fun. Ever.
"It's all about avoiding holiday debt and come out on the other side of the holiday season with your financial goals intact."
Did you know:
- Borrowing on credit surges over the holidays?
- Some people never get out of the cycle of credit card debt because they spend all year paying down debt only to get sucked back in due to holiday spending?
- Credit card companies create special marketing campaigns around the holidays (and also shortly after the holidays) offering things like 0% interest offers (for limited time periods of course) to entice people to sign up?
Crazy huh? Well, that's not going to be you this year!
This blog post will guide you on how to create a sound holiday savings plan that you can build into your budget over the months before Christmas to make sure you get through the holidays financially sound!
Below are my 5 tips on how to save for your Christmas gifts!
1. Open up a designated savings account
Open up a savings account that you designate specifically for Christmas or holiday savings and name it accordingly. You shouldn't be able to easily transfer funds back and forth from it, otherwise, you might find that you are spending instead of saving the money you are trying to put away for the holidays. You won't feel guilty, spending it all on gifts because that is your intent for this money!
You can check out my favorite savings account here, which I use today. I have automated deposits set up for different goals (and people) and it's helped me stay on top of my savings goals!
2. Make a list of who you are buying gifts for
Make of list of who you plan to buy gifts for, and the maximum amount you are willing to spend on each person. The total amount is what you are going to be saving for in between now and November.
Why November? Well, it gives you a few months to put some money away in savings. This is also typically when sale season starts and it’s possible to find some really good deals. If you can spend less, that would be great but spending more is a big NO NO because that would totally ruin your plan/budget.
Got kids you'll be shopping for? Check out my gift list here - these items will help your child become financially responsible.
3. Build your holiday savings into your budget
Now that you know how much you need to save, you'll want to incorporate this amount into your budget. How do you do that? Depending on how much you need in total to purchase your gifts, you'll want to divide that dollar amount by the number of weeks you have between now (when you start saving) and Thanksgiving.
This will give you a good idea of how much you should be putting away each week towards your gifts. You can then sum up that weekly amount to determine what your biweekly or monthly savings should be. You also might want to consider automating deposits into your designated savings accounts.
4. Schedule your shopping days
November is the beginning of sale season and it's also a time when you can easily get side-tracked with all the fancy advertisements, but if you have a game plan its much easier for you to stick to your guns.
I highly recommend you shop online and get your gift buying out of the way early but if you decide to go to a store, then plan ahead - map out what days you'll be shopping, what stores you'll be visiting and what you'll be buying. Also, you'll want to leave those credit cards at home and use only the money you have saved. Remember the whole point is to avoid racking up any holiday debt whatsoever.
5. Get a savings partner
Finally, in order to successfully execute your plan, you are going to need to stay committed and it's a good idea to get a savings partner (AKA an accountability partner) so you can keep tabs on each other and help each other succeed. Think of someone that would be interested in joining you as you save for the holidays and plan weekly check-ins with them!
With these 5 tips, you should be able to put a solid plan in place to avoid holiday debt and come out on the other side of the holiday season with your financial goals intact. The goal is to stick to your plan no matter what.
Here's to a happy and financially sound holiday season!