When you start seeing your local Target put out the Christmas decorations, you may start to feel both panicked and excited.  I mean who doesn’t love the holidays? The feeling of panic sets in for many because the holidays also mean money being spent on gifts. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent about $1050 on holiday gifts and travel in 2019.  For many people, they have not saved ahead of time for this big expenditure.  Many people wind up putting their holiday spending on a credit card and January rolls around and there is now fresh debt to tackle.  That scenario does not make the holidays feel so warm and cozy after all.   Getting started as early as you can with a Christmas savings plan will help avoid debt and overspending.

Below are five tips for starting a Christmas savings plan

 

christmas savings plan

Don’t spend so much

This one may seem pretty obvious, but often hard to stick to.  For many, giving the “best” holiday gifts is what people strive for.  For some reason, giving something homemade for example has people feeling like they didn’t spend enough money.  The spirit of the holidays has been lost a little with so much focus on the retail sector.  The truth is, no one in your life is expecting you to spend money you don’t have.

Here are six ways to spend less this holiday season:

  • There are so many DIY gift options. Get crafty and head over to Pinterest for some inspiration.  You can gift anything from homemade body scrubs to your favorite cookie recipe in a jar.
  • If you plan on hitting the stores, start early.  Often times, the sales start way in advance.
  • Use up those old gift cards that have been sitting in your wallet.
  • Do you have a cash rewards credit card?  Use up those dollars!
  • If you are shopping for your kids, come up with a set number of gifts you will give them.
  • Do some online shopping.  Save on gas and time!

Come up with a Christmas savings plan

The easiest way to come up with a plan is to look at your budget and decide how much you are looking to spend and divide that into weekly chunks. In order for your plan to cover all costs, you want to include not just gifts but money you will be spending on food, holiday events, decor etc.  All those little extras add up more than you may think.

On the flip side, you can look at how much you think you will be able to save up and work your holiday budget around that.  Keep in mind, your Christmas savings plan does not have to start a couple of months before, the earlier you implement it, the better.  By starting earlier, you can save in smaller chunks too.   Just make sure you keep your holiday money separate so that you are not tempted to touch it.

Use a Savings App

Apps are your best friends when it comes to personal finance.  Now more than ever, it is easier to get a handle on your finances so that you are not only saving but making sure you stay within your budget.  When it comes to savings apps, you have a plethora to choose from.  You have automatic savings apps  and money saving apps like Ibotta to help you save on groceries.  Whether you do automatic savings or manage to save money on your shopping, savings is savings.

Get your side hustle on

Picking up a side gig is more popular than ever.  Especially with the pandemic wreaking havoc on the personal finances of so many people.  So if you want to make some extra bucks to add to your Christmas savings plan, there is no shortage of opportunities.  Like to drive?  You can be an Uber driver or a grocery delivery driver.  Are you creative?  Try offering your services on freelance work sites like fiverr. Work a couple of days or nights a week and put that extra cash towards your holiday savings!

Only shop the sales

Sales are everywhere during the holidays.  You not only have Black Friday & Cyber Monday but sales that typically start coming out as early as October.  Whether you are picking up holiday gifts are buying something for yourself, a sale is a sale.  If you have specific brands in mind, sign up for their emails.  Just be careful.  If you are an impulse buyer, signing up for emails might not be the best strategy for you.

A Christmas savings plan is the way to go

When you decide to save money for any financial goal, you will never regret it.  You are not only saving yourself money but financial stress.  The holidays can already be stressful enough.  Avoid that credit card debt bill in January and start saving now!