School just started, but we’re going to talk about Christmas?
We sure are! Turns out, a few months prior to holiday craziness—cue, right now—is the perfect time to talk about Christmas and how you’re going to pay for it.
Make this the year you don’t stress over holiday spending. Instead, get back to the joy of gift-giving with these five simple steps.
- Set aside some money every month. How much money do you think you’ll spend on gifts? Come up with a list of recipients and assign dollar amounts as a rough estimate. You don’t have to adhere to the designated amount when it comes time to actually buy the gift, but this will give you a general idea of how much money you’ll need. Now, divide that number by 4. That’s the amount of money you’ll need to save every month, starting in September. For example, if your total gift-giving budget is $1,000, you’ll need to save $250 every month. There are a variety of ways to do this, such as setting up a separate savings account at your bank or withdrawing the money and putting it in an envelope at home. Just make sure to leave that money alone until it’s time to purchase your holiday gifts.
- Start shopping now! Black Friday kicks off the traditional holiday shopping season, but there are deals to be found right now. Money Talks News reports that during the month of September, you can typically save 40% on grills, 25% on outdoor furniture, and 70% on certain clothing items. Big-box stores may also offer certain toys at a deeper discount now than during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Shopping early can save you money and the stress of trying to track down that perfect gift when the deadline is looming.
- Repurpose your summer fun money. Compass Financial advisor Caleb Pearson just wrote a blog post about getting your budget back on track after all the trips, baseball games and patio drinks over the summer. With school back in session, you may find you’re spending less on entertainment. Why not redirect that money towards your holiday fund?
- Plug into Pinterest and DIY your Christmas! There are already tons of ideas on Pinterest for gifts you can make yourself. It can be something meaningful, like a handmade ornament or a homemade frame with a favorite photo. Or, pamper someone with a homemade sugar scrub or bath bomb. Knowing that someone put their time and talent into a gift often makes it even more special to receive.
- Find extra money. Companies are already talking about hiring seasonal employees, so if you have some free time, you could take on a temporary part-time job for a few hours a week. You may have some items around the house to sell on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. You might even offer your pet-sitting services to the neighbors. There are many ways you can bring in some additional dollars to reach your holiday budget goal.
Saving and planning for Christmas now can help you recapture some of the true spirit of the season. Let us know how we can help you pursue your short-term or long-term financial goals!