When you woke up this morning I sincerely doubt you realized that Christmas is seven months away. Well it is! I’m not a huge Christmas person but I do like to make sure that I can give meaningful gifts for my close friends and family. I normally buy for eight to ten people in any given year and normally spend anywhere from $20 to $50 on each person. If I had kids I bet I’d be spending a lot more.
In order to get meaningful gifts I try to buy as many gifts ahead of time as possible. However, like a lot of people I know, I am a procrastinator and normally end up buying most of my gifts in December. This can mean spending a lot of money in a short time frame and I don’t know about you but my budget could easily get blown on Christmas.
My monthly spending allowance is much less than what I plan to spend on gifts so how do I get the money to buy my gifts at the last minute in December? I’m going to save in advance! For simplicity’s sake let’s pretend that I said I was planning on spending $700 for Christmas this year. In order to save that much money I would need to save $100 each month until Christmas. Most people would agree that sounds much more reasonable than coming up with $700 out of nowhere in December. I get two paychecks a month so that makes it even more manageable at only $50 a paycheck.
Talking about saving for Christmas is easy, but actually doing it is another story. Here are a couple ways you can effortlessly save for Christmas without having to think about it after you have it set up.
The first requires you to set up a new savings account. If you have a bank like ING Direct this process is as simple as a few clicks and about 2 minutes. If you have a more traditional bank or credit union stop by a local branch and ask to have a new account set up. Next, set up a direct deposit for the desired amount to automatically get part of your paycheck deposited into your Christmas account. Most employers should allow this. I can set mine up myself where I work but you may have to talk to your Human Resources department and fill out a simple form.
Another method would be to set up an automatic transfer out of your checking account and into your savings account the day after your paychecks get deposited. At ING Direct this is called an Automatic Savings Plan. All you have to do is set it up and forget it until Christmas and then you’ll have your desired amount ready for buying gifts!
If that all sounds like too much work for you I can understand that. This method is even easier, but a little less secure. After your paycheck is deposited withdraw your desired amount from your checking account and put the Christmas money in a secret place that you know you won’t touch. You can hide it in a jar in your kitchen or in a safe hidden in a closet. The location is up to you but make sure it is somewhere you won’t be tempted to spend it, somewhere you will remember, and somewhere not out in the open so it doesn’t get “borrowed from” or stolen.
Now that you are fully aware Christmas is only seven months away hopefully you have a great idea how to pay for it this year. This should help reduce any Christmas stress and more importantly Christmas debt.
Have you ever saved in advance for Christmas? How did it work out? Any other tips you’d like to share?