The holiday season is almost over, which means your finances
can take a break. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas! I enjoy shopping and
wrapping gifts, but my favorite part would have to be the expressions on people’s
faces when you find the perfect gift for them. The part I don’t like is how
stressful paying for all those gifts is. Your finances can really take a hit
over the season. Why not create a plan, now, to help make next year’s Christmas
season less stressful? Don’t worry I am here to help!
Create a budget: The first step would be to create a budget. This was one of my very first blog posts! (Find it here) Figure out how much you spent this Christmas with food, gifts, charitable donations etc. Once you have your total, divide it out by 11 and save that amount each month. This way you reach your Christmas spending goal by December of next year allowing you to enjoy the season a little more. It may be helpful to open a separate savings account for holiday shopping.
Look for where you can save: Take some time and really look at your budget and see where you can afford to cut spending. It can be simple things like packing your lunch instead of eating out or downgrading your cable service … do you really watch all those stations? Small changes can add up to big savings. Also, if you are underbudget in other areas, like groceries or gas, put the difference in savings. Again, small amounts add up! There are plenty of resources available for saving. I did two blog posts on money saving apps last year! (Find them here and here)
Start shopping early: It is never too early to start shopping for Christmas gifts. I usually start the day after Christmas, this is a great time to replenish your supplies such as wrapping paper. Stores are trying to clear out their inventory, so the prices are cheap. Take advantage of deals throughout the year, most of the time you can find better deals and don’t have to fight the crowds. If you are crafty, look at making some of your gifts. Homemade gifts are the best!
Make a list and stick to it: One thing I have always found helpful is to have a list of who I am giving what. This way I can try and get the best deal possible on some of the bigger items. Plus, it helps keep me organized when I have all these gifts in a big pile.
You can also add birthdays, weddings and other gift giving holidays into your budget giving you more time to enjoy the events and spending time with those who matter. When do you start your Christmas shopping? I would love to hear your thoughts, send them to Val@rivervalleycu.org. For more savings tips and other fun things visit my blog.