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The best way to get a jump on holiday shopping is to begin with a holiday savings fund. This will ensure that you have the money that you need for holiday shopping before the very last shopping day!
Rather than trying to squeeze holiday shopping into the budget in December, get a jump on your planning early and you’ll have a much better experience.
What is a Holiday Savings Fund?
Simply put, a holiday savings fund is money saved specifically for holiday shopping. You can put money away for gift giving, entertainment, food, decorating, and any other aspect of the holiday beforehand. This will ensure that you’re not scrambling to find bargains at the last moment when you should be enjoying yourself instead!
Try these tips for starting your own holiday savings fund:
1. Make a list. Start with basic categories, like Entertaining, Gifts, Greeting Cards, and Food. From here, you can make a list of what you need to buy for each category. List with as much detail as possible, as this will benefit you in the long run.
* Give each category a thorough list of items. For the Gifts category, include every gift recipient you plan to give a gift to. Then plan what to give each person or set a spending limit for each gift.
* Your Food list can include categories for different events and a full list of the groceries and ot
her food items that you need for each event.
2. Formulate a budget. Now that you have thorough lists for each need during the holiday season, assign a rough estimated price to each item and formulate a budget. How much money do you need to fulfill all of your goals for the holiday season?
3. Figure out a savings plan. Now that you know how much you need in total, you can figure out how much you need to put away every month to achieve your goal. Divide your total by the number of months left until Christmas. That’s how much you need to save each month.
* Alternatively, break your totals down into smaller chunks. For example, you can put away $20 per month for food for three months, or $75 for gifts per month in the lead-up to Christmas. We always put away some extra cash to order some lovely holiday cards from Minted. They always have some great deals for their customers, and they use superb quality paper. Minted even offers to print on recycled paper – which is my big thing.
4. Put it into action. Now put your plan into action. As you save money, keep a tally of what you’ve saved and where each saved dollar is going to go. This will help keep you on track from month to month as you prepare for the holidays.
5. Tweak as necessary. You may need to tweak your plan for various reasons. Your budget needs may change, or the amount of income you’re bringing in may change.
If this happens, just tweak your plan to address the changes a
nd keep going.
* The closer you get to your savings goal, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Keep close track of your numbers so you can make tweaks and changes as soon as the need arises rather than after the fact.
A holiday savings fund will simplify the holiday planning process. The more details you put into your plan, the better the results will be. A holiday savings fund can be a lifesaver, preventing you from becoming overwhelmed at the last minute.
If you plan and prepare ahead of time for the parties, meals, decorations and gifts, then you can ensure that you have the money early enough to make it happen!