Christmas decor and a calculator

It’s never too early to start saving for Christmas! Especially if you’re making it your goal to be better prepared financially for the holidays this year. Saving for the holiday season can ensure that you can have a wonderful Christmas without the guilt of the January credit card bill.

Here are 5 tips to help you save money now for the upcoming Christmas season:

  1. Set up a Christmas savings account.
  2. Calculate how much money you need to save.
  3. Start earning gift cards and cash back for gifts.
  4. Cut back on expenses now.
  5. Make saving money automatic.

Why saving for Christmas should be a priority.

Christmas should be filled with joy, yet studies show that 53% of people feel stressed financially when it comes to Christmas. What is supposed to be a time where you can focus on family has started to become a time of worry and financial concerns.

The last thing you want to do is close out the holiday season with added debt and a credit card balance that keeps you up at night. Trust me, I’ve been there!

Years ago I didn’t save a dime for Christmas. During the other 11 months of the year, life somehow got in the way of saving for Christmas. Something always seemed to come up that seemed more urgent. We had cars break, medical bills to pay, and school supplies to buy! No part of me wanted to save money for Christmas throughout the year. Once we lived through a holiday season where we couldn’t afford any gifts, I knew I didn’t want to make the same mistake again. 

Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful

December doesn’t have to be burdened with debt. As long as you plan in advance and change the way you save for Christmas, all stress might fade away. Below are 5 tips to start saving for Christmas now so that you can fully enjoy the holiday season.

1. Set up a Christmas savings account.

The moment you decide that it’s time to start saving for Christmas, the first thing you’ll want to do is set up a savings account or create a bucket within your savings account strictly for the holidays. By creating a savings account just for holiday spending, you’ll be more likely to make saving money a priority. Plus, you can easily track how much money you have saved for the holidays.

When it comes to choosing which type of savings account you’d like, you have a few options:

  • High Yield Savings Account: A high-yield savings account will allow you to save money online and earn more in interest throughout the year. I personally use Ally Bank! They have a simple online savings account that doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement. They also have a feature where you can have up to 10 notated buckets within one savings account. Plus, they have ZERO fees!
  • Separate Savings Account: Many banks allow you to have multiple savings accounts connected to your checking account. You should be able to easily transfer money over with the click of a button. Plus, when it’s time to go Christmas shopping, you can transfer money over to your checking account in an instant.
  • Cash Envelopes: If you’d rather pull out money in cash for Christmas, then cash envelopes are the way to go. By simply pulling out $100 each month, you’ll have enough cash to go on your Christmas shopping spree when December rolls around.

Grab your FREE Christmas cash envelopes below. You’ll also get access to my Free Resource Library where you’ll find other free printables!

No matter where you decide to keep your extra money, the important thing is to have a specific place for your Christmas savings. The last thing you want to do is leave it in your checking account and accidentally spend it before the holiday season hits!

Check out the best savings account rates below:

2. Calculate how much money you need to save.

It’s important to go into the Christmas season with a financial plan in place. It’s easy to overspend when you don’t know how much you should be spending on each gift. I know this because, sadly, I’ve been there before!

Before you even start shopping for Christmas, you’ll want to create a Christmas Budget. To do this, make a list of every person that you need to buy a gift for (down to your children’s teacher!). Then, set a budget for how much you want to spend on each person. Add up how much you’ll be spending in all. Then, consider how much money you need to set aside for decorations and activities like pictures with Santa.

All of these expenses can add up quickly! But this budget gives you a clear idea of how much you need to be saving between today and December 24th.

Take your total amount you need to save and divide it by the number of months between now and December.

For instance, if you need to save $800 in the next 4 months, then divide $800 by 4.

$800 ÷ 4 = $200

You’ll need to save $200 each month to reach your Christmas savings goal!

Remember, the sooner you start saving for Christmas, the less you’ll have to save each month. The best way to save for Christmas is to start in January. Yes, January! This is the perfect way to assure you have enough money set aside before the end of the year hits.

3. Start earning gift cards and cashback for gifts.

I was talking 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 thought this was pure GENIUS.

This is such a smart 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 with earning cash back and free gift cards, I’m listing out my favorite apps and websites that are 100% legit.

Rakuten – This site allows you to earn cash back (real money) when you shop online. Just be sure that whatever you’re buying is in your budget. I LOVE Rakuten (formerly Ebates) because they will send you a check or Paypal you cash back four times each year. And guess what! It’s 100% free. Plus, when you sign up for Rakuten here you’ll earn $10 when you spend $25. This is great for any online shopping!

Fetch Rewards – This might be my absolute favorite app when it comes to earning gift cards! Simply download the app and scan any receipt! You’ll earn points for qualifying items. The best part is that you don’t have to hunt down your qualifying purchases in the app. Fetch Rewards does ALL the work for you. Earn points and redeem them for gift cards to amazing stores such as Amazon, WalMart, and Target! Use the code KP5WK and earn 2,000 points when you scan your first receipt within 7 days!

Branded Surveys – If you have an extra 15 minutes right now, then Branded Surveys is a must. This survey site is 100% legit. As you take surveys you’ll earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards or even cash! This is a super simple way to earn extra money when you have a little down time. 

Toluna Influencers – Here’s another way to earn money and gift cards by answering simple surveys! By taking surveys consistently, you’ll be able to earn money or gift cards that you can then use toward Christmas gifts!

4. Cut back on expenses now.

An easy way to save money for Christmas is to start cutting back on your expenses now. Then, take that extra money and send it toward your Christmas savings fund.

Here’s a step-by-step plan on how to identify areas in your spending where you can cut back:

  1. Print off your last 3 months’ banking statements.
  2. Total up how much you’re spending each month on different areas of your budget.
  3. Ask yourself 3 questions when it comes to your recurring expenses: Can I cancel it? Can I negotiate a better rate? Can I shop around for a better price?

Chances are you’ll find extra money in your budget when you take a long, hard look at your spending. Whether you choose to cancel an unused subscription, or eat out less in the future months, I’m betting there’s extra money that you can save toward Christmas!

No matter what you decide to cut back on, just make sure that you’re saving that extra money for the holidays. Your future self will be thanking you for having Christmas savings in place!

5. Make saving money automatic.

The easiest way to save for Christmas is to not think about it. By setting up automatic withdrawals to a separate checking account each month, you’ll easily find yourself with enough money come December.

Be sure to include Christmas savings in your monthly budget and have your money automatically transferred to savings right after payday! 

Mistakes to avoid when saving for Christmas.

If you’re even thinking about setting aside money for Christmas, then you’re already on the right track. Below are 3 mistakes you’ll want to avoid when it comes to saving for the holiday season.

Don’t steal money from your Christmas savings.

You might be tempted throughout the year to “steal” money from your Christmas savings account. I totally get it! Life happens and things come up. You might be faced with a house repair or unexpected medical bill. 

While this is technically your money, it’s best to not dip into this savings account unless it’s 100% necessary. Instead, if you’re struggling financially, try creating an emergency budget. This will help you cut out any other expenses and focus on saving money.

Don’t go shopping without a plan in place.

If you’ve made it all the way to December with a Christmas savings in place, then that’s wonderful! Just be sure to not overspend and go over budget when it comes to gifts. Before you start shopping for gifts (whether it’s in person or online), make sure you have a plan in place.

Once you’ve bought a gift for someone, cross them off your list! There’s no need to keep spending, especially if you already struggle with impulse spending.

Don’t forget to save for decorations and experiences.

It’s easy to remember all the gifts you need to buy during the holidays, but don’t forget to save for decorations and Christmas experiences as well. Chances are you’ll want to buy items like a Christmas tree and a few decorations. 

And don’t forget Christmas experiences such as pictures with Santa and holiday festivals. These extra events can add up quickly. By including these in your savings goals, you’ll enjoy a less stressful Christmas. 

The Bottom Line

No matter how you choose to save for Christmas, just be sure that you start saving now. By implementing these 5 tips on saving for Christmas, you can be sure that your Christmas is less stressful and more enjoyable this year.