Saving for the Holiday Season

It’s clear the holidays are known as a time of great celebration, but it may also be a time where you can, unfortunately, find yourself spending more money than usual.

We’re in the final quarter of the year, so don’t let the holidays steer you away from achieving your financial goals for 2020. Avoid breaking the bank this holiday season by setting up a plan of action to tackle the holiday season sooner rather than later.

1. Create a holiday sinking fund.

Avoid making huge withdrawals from your emergency fund by starting a holiday sinking fund now. You can do this by setting aside money from each paycheck specifically for holiday expenses.

Calculate your total holiday expenses and decide on an amount that works for you. Be realistic and don’t forget about your other financial goals or to budget for important expenses (rent, groceries, transportation, etc.).

You should also consider  putting aside your spare change. The extra quarters, nickels, and dimes that are leftover in your wallet at the end of the week can work as perfect small deposits toward your holiday sinking fund. The main objective of your holiday sinking fund is to alleviate the pain of holiday expenses when the time comes.

You may not be able to save the entire amount that you will need to spend for the holidays but setting up a fund early will give you some cushion and potentially limit financial stress.

2. Stick to only using cash when shopping.

It can be tempting to spend outside of one’s needs during the season of gift-giving. If you find yourself constantly overspending year after year, try a different approach.  Give your credit card a break and only use cash when holiday shopping this year.

This will give you a set budget that you’ll have to work with when shopping and potentially limit the possibility of overspending. Challenge yourself to only spend the cash that you bring and to not withdraw any additional money from your bank account.

You may find it harder to spend frivolously when you can feel and see the money being spent when shopping with cash. Consider bringing a friend along to act as your accountability partner to ensure that you will not spend more than you budgeted for gifts.

3. Buy meaningful gifts.

Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away when buying gifts for loved ones. Of course, you want to show your love and appreciation for those in your life, but try to think long and hard about the things that mean the most to the people in your life.

It might be something that you can make or something you can do for them. Instead of running to the store to shower your friends and family with expensive gifts, try thinking about what these people want or need. It may be a sentimental thing that can’t be found in stores. This can save you time, energy, and, ultimately, money.

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The holidays are meant to be a time of cheer and joy. Don’t let non-preparation for expenses put a damper on the season. Start your financial plan for the holidays today!

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