Summer is still in full swing, so the holidays may not be on your financial radar just yet. If you start planning now and do some early holiday saving, you can make this year’s giving season an extra special one. Here are some quick tips for budgeting in advance to ensure that the holidays don’t set you back or interrupt your debt reduction goals.
Why Start Holiday Saving Now?
There is always a lot going on once the holidays arrive. This leaves little time to adjust your budget on the fly. With hosting gatherings, buying gifts, and traveling to see family, holiday activities can break a budget in the blink of an eye. By putting extra money aside now, you can reduce some of the stress that comes with this busy season. Plus, you can avoid creating unnecessary credit card debt.
How to Save Before the Holidays Begin
- Reevaluate Your Finances – This should be done periodically anyway. Take a look at monthly spending habits and trends. Identify where you’re at with paying back loans or credit cards. If possible, look back at spending during last year’s holiday season. All this info will help with the next steps.
- Cut Back and Reduce Now – Now that you know where the money is currently going, target some areas where you can cut costs. Even if only temporarily, reducing spending now can go a long way to creating room in your budget come November and December.
- Plan Ahead and Budget – Figure out travel plans, gift ideas, and potential activities now. Nothing has to be set in stone, but pre-planning will let you determine a specific budget figure. Creating a holiday-specific budget gives you a set goal to shoot for.
- Generate Extra Cash – Make room for new items by selling things you no longer use or need. If you have not received a raise at work for a long time, ask now before bosses are thinking about holiday bonuses. Find some side-work that can turn free time into extra money.
- Start a Holiday Saving Account – Put any extra money you’ve gotten together into a savings account. This will make it a little less tempting to spend it early, and it will grow a little on its own before you need it.
Taking these steps in advance is just good protection from the holiday spending trap. Not only will you avoid new debt, you’ll be able to continue paying off debt through winter as well. That peace of mind is the like a special gift you give yourself. Good luck!