Christmas is both an incredibly happy and incredibly stressful time. Any adult knows that. People are kinder and more generous during the Holiday season, but are also stressed out from finding gifts for everyone they know.
Let’s put together a game plan for the Holiday season to make it a little easier.
Saving up over time will not only allow you to buy presents as you go, but also take the stress away from finding the money last minute for everything.
How? By saving the money you need over time so you are not frantically searching for the money in your account to buy presents. Or by giving some tips on how to spend less this giving season while also feeling like you have given something to your loved ones.
Before we begin, it’s important to know that there will be some Christmases that you cannot buy for everyone. It’s about meeting yourself where you are in your finances. There are plenty of other ways to make someone feel special during the Holidays without buying a lot of stuff.
With that said, let’s begin!
10 Weeks to Save (10/8 – 12/17)
I purposely left the week before Christmas out of the equation because I try not shop that close to Christmas (unless it’s on Amazon), so you could save even more if you include that time.
I like to have between $750 and $1,000 saved for Christmas. This will give you enough for a couple of big presents and a good amount of medium/small presents.
Let’s pick a nice, round number, like $1,000, to save. We have 10 weeks to save $1,000, so that is $100/week on average. If you get paid biweekly, you will save $200/paycheck.
Put this money aside into a savings account so it does not get confused with your main checking account. The last thing you want is to work hard at saving this money, just to splurge at Target or Starbucks and it’s all gone!
Sounds great, but how?
Here are five tips to help you save up money before Christmas.
1. Pause or cancel cable
Cable, on average, costs about $100/month. If we add that up over three months, that alone will buy quite a few gifts. That’s already a quarter of what you want to save, if you’re going with $1,000 Christmas budget.
If you can’t cancel for some reason, a lot of cable companies offer a pause to your service for a very small fee (think about $5/month). That’s a heck of a lot better than $100/month!
2. Save up fun money
Instead of putting money aside for entertainment, coffee, and whatever else you put aside for fun, save that money up for 10 weeks.
It won’t be much money, but it’ll help.
3. Skip eating out
This speaks for itself, but can save you some money while you withstand eating out for a few weeks.
We used to put aside about $50/paycheck for eating out, but that would only pay for two trips to fast food. If you’re putting away more than that to go out to a restaurant a few times a month, the money will add up fast.
4. Sell things
You would be surprised how quickly things you don’t use could add up!
The beauty of selling things around Christmas is that others are trying to find gifts for their own loved ones. They might be looking for hand-me-downs that are less expensive than buying brand new.
We’ve had a lot of success with LetGo, but there’s also Mercari, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and a number of other platforms to use.
5. Sell crafts
If you’re like me, you are already crafting something around Christmas time.
I like to give a few homemade gifts to loved ones. Not only because they’re sentimental and come from the heart, but also because they are less expensive!
If you’re already crafting, why not try to make a few extra to sell? You can do this through Etsy, Facebook, or even word of mouth.
My favorite would be word of mouth, because it’s so much easier to make a personalized gift that way. And, bonus: they’ll likely recommend you to someone else!
Remember: at the end of the day, scraping by with these tips is only temporary. And depending on how aggressive you are, you could save up well over $1,000 for Christmas this year!