When is the right time to start saving for Christmas? For next year, the time is NOW (for this year, I am sorry to say, you are on your own).
Ways of Saving For the Holidays
Here are just a few of the methods I have heard of seen or tried for putting some money away for the Christmas or Holiday season:
- Put everything on your credit cards and hope that in January or February you get paid a bonus that pays everything off (hopefully). Admit it, you have either done this or know someone who does this, and I am including this for the purposes of being complete in our discussions about how to save for the Holidays. If you do this, please stop doing it, it is dangerous financial Russian Roulette. At least put a plan together before doing this one.
- Put a small amount away every pay cheque, and then on December 1 take that money and buy all of your gifts and such with this. December 2nd figure out that you didn’t put enough money away to cover all of your costs, revert to the Credit Cards and hope for the bonus plan, do not pass GO, do not collect $200.00 .
- Look at how much you spent this year for Christmas (with an honest eye, remember you are trying to figure out how much you spend at Christmas, and that alone might scare the heck out of you). That number will really only be countable in January unfortunately (after you get your Credit Card bills), but if you keep your receipts you might be able to put together a good estimate. Take that amount that we will call “HOLY COW”, figure out how many pay cheques you will have between now and December 1st next year divide “HOLY COW” by that number and then add 10% to be safe and there you have a better amount of money to put away for next year at Christmas.
- Decide that Christmas is far too commercial and that you are just not going to buy anything this year. I like to call this the Grinch plan, not sure I know anyone who can live down to this plan, but it is a plan.
- Decide to “slip” Christmas 6 days and have it on New Year’s Eve instead. This means that you can shop at all the Boxing Day sales, and you get to have two celebrations at once. I do actually know people who mostly give cash with a note saying, “Go buy something nice at the Boxing Day sales”.
- Become an Atheist, and claim it’s all a fanatical religious festival (this is a twist on the Grinch plan).
Make a plan, but be honest with yourself about how much you spend and maybe ask yourself if you really need to spend that much this year?