I know that it’s not quite Christmas season yet, but each year people overspend on Christmas…or even worse, find themselves in more debt after the holiday decorations are boxed up and back in the attic. And although I’d like to pretend that I’ve always handled the holidays perfectly, that would be a lie. In fact, I didn’t always save for Christmas in advance!
I’ve been in your shoes before. During the other 11 months of the year, life somehow gets in the way of saving for Christmas. Something always seems to come up that’s more urgent. We’ve had cars break, medical bills to pay, and school supplies to buy! Who wants to save money for Christmas throughout the year when it’s all the way in December?
Well, once you’ve lived through a holiday season where that you weren’t sure how to afford any gifts (or you went into debt buying them!) then you’re probably ready for a change. You see, Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful. It doesn’t have to be burdened with debt. You don’t have to worry about HOW you’ll buy all these presents. As long as you plan in advance and change the way you save for Christmas, all that stress might just fade away. And I’m sharing 5 ways to help you save for Christmas now so that you can fully enjoy the holiday season when it hits!
1. Make your list and set a realistic budget.
Don’t go into Christmas shopping blind. The easiest way to overspend this season is to walk in the store without a plan. I know, because sadly, I’ve been there. Don’t be like me, friend! Don’t grab a cart and start wandering the aisles aimlessly. You’ll see a bunch of stuff that you think will work and next thing you know, you have a cart full of stuff for people. By the time you get home, you realize that you’ve bought 3 gifts for one person and you left someone else off your list entirely.
So instead, make a list of every person that you need to buy a gift for (down to your kid’s teachers or friends). Then, set a budget for how much you want to spend on each person. This way you can add up how much you’ll be spending on gifts this year. This will give you a clear guide on how much you need to be saving between today and Christmas.
But what if you add up all the gift prices and it’s more than you can afford? Well, you have two options! You can either lower the amount of money you’re spending on people OR you can cut people off your list. I know that sounds harsh, but LISTEN UP! Christmas is not about things. When you keep the holiday in perspective then all the stuff doesn’t seem as important!
Need help setting up a budget? I give you a step-by-step guide here!
2. Cut back on expenses now.
Chances are you might be a little shocked by exactly how much you’re going to be spending this Christmas. And your ultimate goal should be to NOT go into debt this holiday season by buying gifts. You want to end the holidays on a positive note, not with an extra-large credit card statement.
To keep this from happening, it’s time to start saving. An easy way you can do that is to cut back on your expenses now and send the extra money toward holiday savings. Take a long, hard look at your budget and figure out where you’re sending extra money. Maybe you could go out to eat less this month or decrease your fun money budget. Whatever you decide to cut back on, just make sure that you’re saving that extra money for Christmas! It might be annoying to cut back on your expenses now, but I promise that it will be worth it when you’re not dealing with credit card debt or overspending right after Christmas!
3. Get cashback and gift cards.
I was chatting with a friend once who said that she saves ALL her cash back and gift cards that she earns throughout the year for Christmas gifts. I immediately thought “YOU’RE A GENIUS!” It’s a great way to take something that you might have earned for free and use it to make your life easier come December. To help get you started, I’ve listed my favorite ways to earn cashback or gift cards for FREE.
Rakuten – Earn cashback when you shop online. Just make sure that whatever you’re buying is in your budget. But seriously, I love Rakuten (formerly Ebates) because they send me a check four times each year for real money. And guess what! It’s totally free! Plus, when you sign up HERE then you’ll earn $10 when you make your first purchase through Rakuten.
Shopkick – I love this app because you can earn kicks (aka points) whenever you walk into a store, scan a product, or buy something! Then, you can redeem your kicks for actual gift cards. Use the code BUDGET5 to get $5 in kicks right when you sign up! Click HERE to sign up and start earning cashback now!
Ibotta – Ibotta will give you gift cards or cold hard cash for scanning your receipts when you purchase certain items at stores all over. It’s a super easy way to earn real cashback when you go shopping! Just add the items in the app and then scan your receipt when you’re finished shopping. That’s it! I use it almost every time I go grocery shopping.
4. Look for deals early.
I’ve learned over many years of buying Christmas gifts that not only can I find amazing deals on gift ideas early, but I’m less stressed when I get my shopping out of the way! I mean, think about it. Who wants to be running around in late December frantically trying to buy something for everyone on their list? Plus, when you wait until the last minute, you’re much more likely to overspend because you’re just ready to get the shopping done. However, if you start looking for deals and gifts early, you are much less likely to make an impulsive purchase. Need ideas on inexpensive gifts? Check out my gift guides here.
5. Set aside money where you can’t touch it.
As you’re saving money each month for Christmas (yes, you need to start saving money each month!), it’s important to set money aside where you cannot touch it. I don’t know about you, but there are times when I’ll “steal from myself” so I can go shopping. To keep this from happening, set up a separate savings account (or use a cash envelope) to keep your Christmas money safe. You’re much less likely to spend it on something else if it’s set aside and out of reach. Most banks or credit unions will let you set up a savings account just for Christmas savings! This will save you from sabotaging your own savings efforts.
No matter which method you use to save for Christmas, it’s just important that you get started now (yes, now!). In fact, you could also use each of these methods so that you can ensure that Christmas is less stressful this year.
How do you plan to save for Christmas this year?