Christmas has come and gone. While you most likely want to settle back into a routine, celebrate the new year, and put Christmas planning on the back burner now is the perfect time to start saving for Christmas next year.
Yes, that’s right. Christmas occurs on the same day each year and if you’re going to celebrate, it’s best to start preparing well in advance. In the past, I started saving for Christmas by June or July each year but last year, I decided to start in January.
There are so many benefits to saving for Christmas next year. Here are some of the best ways to do it.
Set a Goal
Saving money is so much more fun when you have a clear goal. Figure out how much you want to set aside for Christmas so you’ll know when to start saving and how often. For example, if you want to save $600 for Christmas, you may be able to start 6 months earlier and save $100/month.
If you want to save $1,000, you can break that up however you like and determine how early you want to start saving. This year, we decided to save around $800 for Christmas and start setting money aside in January which worked out to only $67 per month.
Review your spending from this current holiday season to help you come up with your magic savings goal that will make affording the holidays seem much less stressful.
Set Up Automatic Transfers
Once you know how much you want to save and when you want to start, set up automatic transfers to help make it easy. Most banks allow you to do this for free so you don’t have to worry about saving consistently.
Some banks like Chime even allow you to automatically set 10% of your income aside in a savings account when you get paid.
Save Your Cash Back
If you have a cash-back credit card or use a site like Rakuten to earn money back, consider funneling all those funds to your Christmas savings account. I do this every year to give my savings a boost. I use a cash-back credit card for planned personal and business spending. I always keep the balance reasonably low but pay off the card each month and earn cashback.
My specific credit card doesn’t have any cashback limits so I can earn as much as I like. When I’m ready, I just send the rewards to my checking account via direct deposit.
Sites like Rakuten and Top Cashback are great to use when you’re shopping online. Rakuten pays out your earnings quarterly. Other cashback apps you may want to consider are Ibotta and Fetch Rewards. These apps will help you earn rebates on items you buy when you shop for groceries and home goods.
If you’re consistent, you can probably earn a couple hundred dollars that can go to Christmas savings for the year.
Save Spare Change
What do you do with your spare change? Lately, I’ve been saving mine for travel and family activities. You can start stashing the coins you find around the house the old fashioned way, or you can use apps and other programs to help.
Digit is a site that helps you save small amounts automatically. Digit connects to your checking account, studies your spending, then makes random savings transfers throughout the week. You can always transfer the money back or pause Digit from saving for you. However, my guess is that you’ll like the extra savings. I once saved $150 with Digit super fast and the best part is that I hardly noticed the money leaving my checking account.
Acorns is another app that will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invest the difference. For example, if you spend $3.45 at Starbucks, Acorns will save $0.55. These small transfers add up really fast and will come in handy for Christmas.
Slash Your Regular Spending and Save the Difference
In order to able to afford to start saving for Christmas next year, you can always lower your spending. Try not to do anything that will make you feel super deprived and even start small if you have to.
Commit to buying generic products for the whole year and you’ll save money each time you make a purchase. Cut dryer sheets in half, replace restaurant outings with your slow cooker or pressure cooker so you can make more meals at home.
Order water for your drink at restaurants when you do go. Weatherproof your home. Install energy-efficient lights. Brew your own coffee or get it for free at work. There are so many things you can do to save and all your efforts will add up allowing you to add to your Christmas fund.
Covering holiday expenses only has to be stressful when you don’t plan and prepare in advance. Start saving for Christmas next year as soon as you can so you can stretch out your savings and have plenty of time to utilize the strategies mentioned here.
Do you start saving for Christmas well in advance? What’s your favorite hack to help you save?