Budget for the Holidays
The moment you see the Christmas decorations coming out in stores (way too early) is about the same time you should start to budget for your holiday gift giving this year. Here are some steps to help you avoid the account draining:
- Make a list of people you need to buy for and brainstorm gift ideas. Give each one a value or maximum spend and total it up in an excel spreadsheet. You can make adjustments as you go. Leave some wiggle room too, or budget for some miscellaneous gifts for those last minute “oops I forgot my mother-in-law and now she is coming in to town” moments.
- Put away money weekly, let’s say you put away $25 every week until Black Friday, if you start in September, that’s 12 weeks and now $300 you have to spend on gifts! If you start in October, that’s $200. I think you see where I am going with this. Try setting up an automatic weekly transfer to another share, this will make saving for that total budget painless.
- Keep track of what you buy, take advantage of sales, and compare prices. On your handy spreadsheet where you listed the gift ideas and price caps, start a column for actuals. You may have some wiggle room, or enough at the end to buy yourself a present, if you shop the sales right! There is usually a coupon for EVERYTHING, try using retailmenot.com to look up coupon codes and promotions.
- Get creative with DIY gifts such as homemade soap or candles, which you can make at Candle Vino while having a fun night out! This blog also has bunch of other DIY gifts for the holidays.
- Christmas Club accounts are your friend! Remember when I said you can have a separate share, or savings account, for holiday gifts? Well this is the perfect option to have year round. There is no minimum opening investment and dividends are paid at the end of each month. Your Christmas Club maturity is the first business day in November each year at which time funds will be transferred to your Essential Share. So next year, consider a Christmas Club account.