Do you know what is the best feeling ever? After all of the presents have been ripped open and you’re in that happy-tummy-food-coma from your mom’s cooking… You go online and check your credit card account and click the button to pay off the whole balance. You take a deep breath and enjoy every bit of the holiday festivities without a worry about paying off all of those wonderful gifts for the next five months.
And the secret to making sure you will get to enjoy that wonderful feeling next Christmas?
Before you take down those Christmas decorations, make a Christmas savings plan for next Christmas.
It seems odd, right? You’ve got 12 whole months before next Christmas. But are you really going to be thinking about saving for Christmas while the kids are finishing the school year and you’re finalizing summer plans? That’s why it works so well to make a plan now. Christmas is on the brain and you can easily make your savings plan. It only takes a few easy steps:
Write down a list of all of the people you bought gifts for this year.
Start here. Write down everyone you ended up buying gifts for. There’s the obvious: immediate family members. But what else? I never think about gifts for people I work with, but every year we collect money to get our bosses a nice gift. Did you end up getting gifts for teachers, cousins, mailmen? Write it on that list.
Next to each person on the list, write down approximately how much you spent on them.
This is another reason to do this before all of the Christmas stuff is packed away. Pull out receipts, check your bank account or credit card bill. My husband and I always set a spending limit for each other, but I need to check if we actually stuck to it. If we spent a bit more, I’ll write it down, because I need to plan for it for next year. It’s always better to save a little more than a little less, right?
Add in the extras.
If you’d like, you can also add in extra expenses that come at Christmas:
- Holiday cards
- Special food expenses for Christmas cookies or big family get-togethers
Now total up your spending and divide by 12.
Alright, so for an example, if my total I spent on all Christmas presents was $300, I divide by 12 and my number is $25. So, I only have to save $25 a month for the next year to have enough for Christmas gifts next year! That’s a whole lot easier to manage than figuring out how to save $300 starting in the middle of November!
Add it to your budget and save!
So, when you’re putting your budget together for January, make sure to add in your monthly Christmas savings amount. Now, you can take this money and keep it in cash someplace safe in your house, or put it in a separate savings account. Use whatever method will work best for you so you don’t touch that money until next Christmas.
If you don’t have quite enough one month, make up for it the next month with a little extra. The point is, you know how much you need to save and can now work on it in small chunks.
Because we know Christmas will come next year, right? So we shouldn’t be surprised by it when we can make a plan to save for it. That makes for stress-free spending next year!
How are you already getting prepared for next Christmas?