6 Steps to Start Saving for the Holidays
Now that the holidays are right around the corner, it’s just about time to start thinking about doing your holiday shopping. If you’re like most people, you’ll need to save up for this event.
With that in mind, below are six tips that you should follow to start saving for the holidays.
How to buy holiday gifts without breaking the bank
1. Make a list
When your goal is to save for the holidays, the first step is to make a list of all the people to whom you normally give gifts. After all, you can’t plan out your saving strategy until you have a better idea of what you’re going to have to spend.
Once you have your list in front of you, you can decide whether or not it looks realistic for this year. If there are too many people on the list, consider trimming it down a little. For example, rather than buying gifts for everyone, you could simply suggest participating in a white elephant or secret Santa gift exchange.
Keep in mind that if you decide to go this route you’ll likely be doing other people a favor. Everyone is strapped for cash around the holidays and most of the time, gift-giving gets out of control. If you can start a new tradition where people can buy fewer gifts, they’ll likely be thankful for it.
2. Set (and stick to) a budget
Once you have your list in hand, the next step is to create a budget around it. For each person on your list, try to set a gift maximum, or a total amount of money that you plan to spend on their gift(s). Then, when you’re done, tally up the totals so that you have a better idea of how much you’ll have to save overall.
In the event that you see the total amount of money you’re planning to spend and have a minor heart attack, feel free to make an adjustment. Honestly, the amount of money that you spend on gifts each year should fit within your normal budget. You shouldn’t try and alter your normal budget to account for holiday spending.
3. Create a weekly savings goal
After you have a better idea of the total amount that you plan to spend on gifts, use it to create a weekly savings goal. To do this, you simply need to divide that amount by the number of weeks that you have left until the holidays. However, you may want to leave yourself a week or two of buffer time to account for last-minute shopping.
Then, take a look at where that savings can come from. Some people already have an existing savings goal built into their budget and they can just reallocate their those funds for the holidays. For others, this task means cutting down on unnecessary expenses for a little while.
4. Track your spending
If you’re not sure where you can cut from your budget, consider tracking your spending for a little while. Tracking your spending will give you a better idea of where your money goes each month. Odds are you’ll find that some of your money is being spent on the miscellaneous purchases that can be put on hold until the holidays pass.
If you’re unsure of how to get started tracking your spending, there are plenty of apps that can help you with this task. Alternatively, you can go old-school and use a spreadsheet to keep track of any money that gets spent on a daily basis.
5. Keep an eye out for sales
Next, this may sound obvious, but remember to shop the sales. Many stores have Black Friday sales that can help you to get your holiday shopping done if you’re on a tight budget. Do your best to plan out your shopping so that you’ll hit the sales rather than having to wait till the last minute and pay full price.
In most cases, you can find out when items will be on sale at a certain store by doing a quick Google search. However, if you’re not the most tech-savvy, consider calling the store instead. While the employees may not know when a specific item will go on sale, they generally will know the days of the week that each new sale cycle starts.
When you’re ready to start shopping, don’t forget to use promo codes and coupons. These days, there are even apps and browser extensions that will automatically find any available promo codes for you. Shopping without them is like leaving money on the table.
6. Know when to stop
Finally, when you’re shopping on a budget, it’s important to know when to stop. Especially around the holidays, people can get caught up in the holiday spirit and go overboard. However, while that may feel good in the moment, it usually leads to angst and stresses down the road.
This is where the budget that you created comes into play. Do your best to stick to it while you’re shopping. If you go over one person’s spending limit, try to borrow from someone else’s so that the total amount of money spent on your purchases evens out.