Thrifty Thursday: Start Saving for Christmas

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I know, I know.  You don’t want to admit that summer is over and Christmas is right around the corner.  I can’t believe it either.  I’m usually almost done with my shopping by September, and I’ve hardly started!

A few tips to get you Saving for Christmas:

-Start early: You should budget for Christmas throughout the year.  Christmas is not a surprise.  It happens every year, so start saving in January.  A small amount of our monthly budget is designated to holiday’s. 

-Set up a holiday savings account: Keeping the money separate can help deter you from dipping into the Christmas cookie jar.  Consider setting up an automatic transfer, so you don’t get a chance to miss the money.  I have a excel spreadsheet with a breakdown of our savings account.  One of the categories is labeled “Holiday’s.” 

-Sell Something:  We all have stuff we don’t need or want.  Have a yard sale or sell on ebay to get Christmas money.  A bulk of our Christmas money comes from our annual yard sale.  My kids are young, so they are constantly outgrowing something. 

-Use “extra” money:  Designate mail-in rebates or extra money from cash envelopes for the holiday fund.  Did you come in under your grocery budget this month?  Do you have a change jar? Make an unexpected return? Put it away for Christmas.  I have a friend who pulls out all the extra money from her cash envelopes to put towards the holidays.

-Give up something: Try giving up something you regularly spend money on, temporarily.  Skip the morning latte, bring your lunch to work, don’t buy that cute sweater.  You can always add it back in after you meet your financial goals.  However, you might like how much money you can save by not buying the $5 Starbucks every morning.  :)

-Set a budget and stick to it:  Setting a Christmas budget is crucial.  It is so easy to fall victim to the blinking lights and “must have” toy of the year.  Look at the money you’ve saved as a guide for your budget.  Did you save more than you need?  Great!  Put it way for a rainy day or vacation.  Looking a little low?  Tighten your budget to avoid pulling out the plastic. 

-Make a list: Make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for. Consider writing down a ballpark amount for each person to help keep you on track.  Also, talk with family about only buying for the kids.  Trust me, your siblings are probably looking to save money too.  While you’re at it, set a budget for each child/person. We have a $5 per child Christmas rule and $10 per child birthday rule.  That’s for my nephews, not my kids :)

What are your tips to save money for the holiday’s?

Look for part 2 next week: “Ways to Save on Christmas Gifts”

This post is linked to Life as Mom, Madame Deals, Mrs. Moneysaver, and My Coupon Teacher



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