5 Ways to Easily Start Saving Now for Holiday Expenses
It may be hot and sunny now, but before you know it, Santas, snowmen and menorahs will start
showing up in stores. You’ll start seeing the holiday reminders as early as September or October when
they co-exist with Halloween ghosts and goblins on the store shelves.
It may seem too early to start thinking about the holidays now, but it’s never too soon to start your
December budget planning. By planning months in advance, you’ll be able to avoid going into holiday
debt. I love to start my holiday saving as early as January or February with just a few dollars here and
there. Over the course of the year, I have hundreds saved up by the holidays and can spend without
worry. What’s even better, I never feel the pinch on my wallet. Here are a five great ways to do it:
1. Open a Dedicated Savings Account. If you are serious about wanting to get through the holidays
debt-free, set up a dedicated savings account for this purpose. In most cases the cost to set up an
account is zero and it will just involve a little bit of your time.
Using a dedicated account will help you keep track of your holiday savings easily by keeping an eye on
your balance each time you add to it. It will grow much faster than you think.
2. Then Set Up Automatic Transfers. Once you have a dedicated account, you’ll need to fund it. The
easiest way to do this is with regular automatic transfers from your checking or another savings account.
A transfer of just $14/week ($2/day) adds up to nearly $730 by the end of a year; that will go a long way
towards your holiday spending. If you have direct deposit for your paycheck, you can often work with
your employer to have your deposits split among multiple accounts, making it even easier to fund your
3. The Trusty Change Jar. This is one of the easiest and most pain-free ways to add to your holiday fund.
Just empty the loose change from your pocket or wallet at the end of each day into a jar or canister.
During the day, pay for your purchases with only bills, no change. By the end of the day, depending on
how many purchases you made, you will have some loose change to add to your jar. You’ll be amazed
how fast it fills up. Don’t pay with cash? No problem. Save your credit and debit purchases from the
day and round each total up to the nearest dollar. Then deposit the total amount for the day to your jar.
If you don’t have cash on you, write yourself and I.O.U. and put it in the jar for the next time you do
have cash. Once a month, cash in all the change and deposit it into your savings account.
4. Give it up. Do you stop at your favorite coffee or sandwich shop every day for your favorite drink or
snack? Sometimes more than once a day? If you can give up just one store bought beverage or snack
each day, or even each week, and add the money you would have spent to your savings jar or account,
you’ll see your savings start to increase quickly. If you spend, on average, $4 per drink or snack, that
adds up to over $200 a year for going without just once a week! If you do it daily for five days a week,
that’s over $1,000 a year!
5. Grocery store savings. If you have a savings or rewards card that saves you money on your purchases
each time you shop, this is a great way to add to your holiday fund. The next time you go grocery
shopping, take a look at your “savings” total at the bottom of your receipt. It might be just a couple of
dollars or it might be as much as $10-$20 dollars. Whatever the savings is, add this to your change jar or
savings account. This could add up to hundreds of dollars towards your holiday shopping each year.