If you find yourself in a panic come November and December over how you’re going to pay for the upcoming holidays, you are not alone. Many people do exactly that, and I used to be one of them. However, once I realized the benefit of putting aside cash for the holidays all year long, it took a significant weight off my shoulders once it came time to buy what I needed. The planning was definitely worth it.
Putting aside cash all year long for gifts may seem ridiculous, but isn’t it better to have all the money you need for the holidays ahead of time instead of worrying about scraping it all together in just a few, short weeks? Waiting until last minute to come up with holiday funds is one of the worst things you can do for your financial health, as well as your sanity.
The best part of saving all year for the holidays is that you are less likely to put yourself in debt by using credit cards once December rolls around. It gives you the chance to put yourself in a great financial position for this year, as well as for the next. If you’re ready to start putting aside cash for the holidays, there are several ways to go about it that can help you rack up the funds in no time.
Calculate a Total
While saving too much money for the holidays isn’t a bad thing, you don’t want to be stuck with too little.Total up how much you spent on Christmas gifts this past year and round up to the nearest hundred. Consider that the total amount you should save for the upcoming holidays.
Set Up a Holiday Savings Account
Sure, you have your regular savings account, but setting up a special one just for the holidays allows you to keep both accounts separate. It is also a great way to avoid dipping into any extra money when it comes to taking out the cash for the holidays.
Schedule an Automatic Deposit
I am a huge fan of automatic deposts. It allows me to transfer the money when I want it to move without me forgetting to do it myself. Schedule an amount to transfer right into your holiday savings account every week, and as you get accustomed to it, you can gradually increase the amount over time.
Round Down Your Numbers
One of my favorite ways to save a little bit of extra money is to round down my numbers in my bank account at the end of every week. It comes out to such a small amount, but can really build up over time. So how do you do it?
Take the last two dollar numbers, round down, and deposit the difference. For example, if you have $388.57, round it down to $380.00 and deposit the $8.57 in your holiday savings account. Should you deposit even around $5 each week, that’s an extra $240 in your savings at the end of the year.
Start Up a Money Jar
Set up a money jar in your house and collect coins on a daily basis. It’s a great way to painlessly save for the holidays and could end up netting you quite a bit of money by the end of the year. You can order checks online cheap, write one out every month that totals up the amount in the jar after you cash it in, and deposit it into your holiday account.
Here are some ways to start collecting money in the jar on a daily basis:
- Collecting loose change — This is probably the most well-known way to collect extra funds for a jar. At the end of each day, empty out your pockets and toss the coins in.
- Cursing — Every time you curse, toss a dollar into the jar. Not only will it help you rack up some cash, it may even help you stop a nasty habit!
- Doing laundry — If you have a washer and dryer in your home, you’re probably thrilled that you don’t have to shell out the cash to go to a laundromat. Instead, every time you do laundry, pay yourself.
- Coffee cutback — If you’re someone who loves buying coffee every morning, opt to make it at home instead and deposit what you would have spent into a jar. Spend $3 a day on coffee five days a week, and by the end of the year you’ll have a whopping $720 in your jar.
The sooner you come up with a savings plan for the holidays, the better it will be for you as the end of the year starts to approach. Don’t just follow your plan sporadically; it’s important to make a commitment so you’ll increase your chances of having a good amount of money to spend. By the time the year is almost over, many of those around you will start panicking about how they are going to afford the holidays and you will be able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you already have it taken care of.
This is a guest post by Lauren, a New Jersey-based freelance writer who loves spending time with her family and friends. Whether she’s browsing www.buychecksbymail.com or looking through thrift shops, she’s all about getting great products for as little money as possible. When Lauren isn’t working, she loves experiencing new things and exploring different places.
Photo by MatthewEGreen/Flickr