Merry Christmas Savings Time!

Christmas is four months away.  That’s right, four months.  Now, most of us are probably worried about squeezing in as many cook-outs as possible into the last few weeks of summer (as we should), but it’s also time to start thinking about Christmas.

More importantly, it’s time to start saving for Christmas.

It’s well known that the holidays are the time of year where we spend the most.  This is also, as it so happens, the time of year where we get into ‘trouble’ the most by racking up credit card debt.

So, avoid it!

If you haven’t already, start saving now.

The ideal way to save for Christmas is to estimate your expenses, divide by twelve, and set aside that amount every month.  Then, when the bills need to get paid, you just take the balance of what you’ve set aside, pay it off, and start the whole process over again.

But, if you didn’t do that, it’s still not too late.  You have four months.  That means that you should start putting away one-quarter of what you expect to spend around the holidays.  Today.  Right now.

But what if you can’t afford to do this? Good point. Christmas can be expensive and budgets are most likely tight.  So, if you plan on spending $1,000 on Christmas, that means you should start putting away $250 per month starting today.  If you can’t afford to do that, here’s what you do:

  1. Look for ways you can cut that spending, even a little bit.  Can you and your spouse / significant other cut back a little bit this year?
  2. Save what you can.  Even if you can only put away $50-100 per month, that’s fine.  Every bit will help.
  3. Pay off the balances as soon as you can.
  4. Don’t wait until August next year.  Start saving as early as you can.  Don’t just pledge to do it.  Do it!

With these simple steps, you can be prepared for the financial implications of Christmas without any worries.  It takes discipline and time, but trust me, it will make the holidays all the more enjoyable if you start saving for them.

We’ve been putting money aside every month for the last couple of years to pay for Christmas gifts, so I can tell you that this strategy works and works well especially since we keep a pretty tight month-to-month budget.

Have you started saving for the holidays yet?  If not, when will you be starting?