It’s that time again. Holiday festivities, meeting new people, and spending time with your family. It’s also that time again for the dreaded increase in spending. The average American can spend a lot of money during the Christmas because they are buying gifts for the kids, participating in gift exchanges, and going to holiday parties. No matter how much you say you’re going to save money, you may go overboard and spend too much money. Not this year. This year and all the Christmas seasons to come, you’re going to save money. How? With a solid holiday budget. The following is how you make and stick to a budget, so you have money after the Christmas ends.
1. Make Two Budgets
First, create a budget. This is an amount of money you will spend on all gifts. This is the amount that you won’t go over no matter what. The second budget is for saving the money you’ll spend during the Christmas season. This is a budget you’ll use first. For example, streamline the extra you spend during the year can go a long way to saving money without having to work an extra shift. Make more meals at home instead of going to a restaurant and skip the coffee runs. Save the money instead. You can also work extra shifts during the year to save money. If you receive a holiday bonus, put at least 20 percent of it towards your second budget. You won’t spend the money now, and you’ll spend it later.
2. Make a Gift List
Before you start buying a single gift, make a gift list. Next, think about who will be on your list this year. When brainstorming your gift list ask one question: Do you need to give a gift for (fill in the blank)? If the answer is no, then decide to send a Christmas card. Definitely keep them off your list. Third, think about the quality of gifts. You don’t have to pick the most expensive thing. You don’t need to buy every inexpensive thing that’s on sale or reduced. Think quality and about that person more.
3. Know Your Other Expenses
The Christmas season doesn’t stop your regular expenses like utilities, rent and daycare costs. You also must factor in other expenses like new clothes for the parties you’re going to attend or food and drinks for any parties you host. Decide ahead of time if you can afford things you want to do during the holiday season like concerts, traveling and hosting parties.
The worst time to save for Christmas is November. Saving for Christmas should start on January 1st. So, this means that you should plan for Christmas 2020 on January 1, 2020. This gives you almost 12 months to put small amounts of money away for your the season you’ll spend the most money. Nickname your savings for Christmas you “Christmas fund.” Each month set aside about one-twelfth of your Christmas budget. Place that money into a savings account. Plenty of banks have Christmas savings accounts that will let you put money away without the option of getting it out before Christmas time. Also, look for high interest savings accounts. You want to make additional money on the funds you’re saving. This extra money may pad your budget.
5. Save After the Holidays, Too
Let’s save you did everything listed above. Maybe you saved a lot of money. Maybe you slightly overspent. You still have a chance to get that money back. If you stayed within your budget, you would be able to give yourself a little reward or start saving for next Christmas. Getting your rebates for what you purchased during the Christmas season is your opportunity. Save all your receipts. Pick a rebate app you like and scan your receipts to obtain rebates. You can sign up for cash back offers too. Many apps ask for your email to sign up for the rebates. You also must give the app permission to scan your emails for receipts. Pick a rebate app connected to a lot of retailers. This is how you’ll make most of your money. You’ll receive this money back on a prepaid card or in gift cards once you reach a certain limit. For example, if you reach $20 in rebates, you can collect the money and use as you choose. By working hard during the year, you can save money for the Christmas season without fearing that you won’t have enough money. Remember, stick to both budgets. You don’t have to buy Christmas gifts for everyone; Christmas is a time to focus on your family. Happy Holidays!
This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.