AH! Christmas is less than two months away! I know it isn’t even Halloween yet, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Christmas is the same time every year. Unfortunately, people always seem to be surprised by how quickly it sneaks up on them.
Start Saving Now (and Again in January)
If you don’t have any cash set aside for the holidays yet, you had better get started saving now! Depending on your family, I wouldn’t be surprised if you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars above and beyond normal expenses in the next couple months. If you’re already running your household on a tight budget, you need to start planning now.
The best way to save for an event like this is in advance, so take a portion of each paycheck and put it into a separate holiday fund. Figure out how much you want to, or more likely will end up, spending and then divide that by the number of paychecks until you’ll spend the money. It’s that simple!
How To Find The Money To Save
Even if you don’t think it is possible to find any money to save, I think you’d be surprised at what you can cut back on. The first step is to see what you can cut out of your normal expenses for a couple short months. It won’t be forever, just until you can save enough money for the holidays. After all, you don’t want to charge up credit card debt or have to skip any other debt payments.
A common area that many people can save money on in the short term is food and dining out. Use up the food that has been sitting in the back of your pantry or freezer and give your grocery bill a break for a couple weeks, or months if you’re a food hoarder!
If you normally go to fancier sit down restaurants, try to downgrade to a less expensive restaurant for a couple months. Better yet, if you want to save even more money cut out half of the meals that you would normally eat out at restaurants. You could even go as far as quit dining out at all if you need to cover a large holiday budget in a short period of time.
Start Over Again In January
If it was tough to save enough money for Christmas in just a couple of short months, then January offers the best opportunity to make things easier on yourself next year. After you total up how much money you spent on the holidays this year, simply divide that by the number of paychecks you’ll receive before the next holiday season.
Why is it easier to start in January? The amount you have to save per paycheck is much, much less when you have 12 months of paychecks to spread the cost out over, rather than just two months!
Do you save up for the holidays throughout the year, or at least a couple of months ahead of time? If not, are you going to start now, or at least start in January for next year?