Just like the past few years, where has 2022 gone? Although we are embracing fall colors, mums, and everything pumpkin spice, the holidays are only three months away! If you aren’t a planner and haven’t started already, it’s a good idea to start. Not only can it help you from overspending, but it will help keep you out of debt and you’ll be more prepared for an already busy time.
Here are five tips to help you navigate the hustle and bustle of the season to come and to start saving for the holidays!
Calculate Your Holiday Costs
There’s a lot more than just presents to account for when you start to save for the holidays. Are you going to travel? If so, do you plan to fly or drive? Depending on the distance you plan to travel, gas might cost more than a plane ticket! Once you’re at your destination, do you plan on staying with family or do you need to rent a place to stay? If you are staying at home this holiday season, will you be hosting or just cooking for your crew? Also, account for extra visitors that might stop by. It never hurts to overestimate rather than underestimate and not have enough. To give you a rough idea, in 2021 the average total spent in the US for gifts, food, and decorations was $859. In addition to that, NerdWallet found that 71% of travelers intended to spend, on average, $1,471. Once you’ve figured out your total holiday costs, it will help you to create a realistic plan.
Stick To A Budget
It’s easy to get caught up with things during the holiday season. To help set yourself up for success, it’s important to stick to a budget. Knowing your holiday costs a few months in advance can put you in the right headspace for what is doable. It’s OKAY to say no when needed, to keep things simple, and find creative ways to make a memorable holiday season for your family.
Sticking to a budget will help give you the freedom to spend on what you have planned. Take a look at your spending last year to give you a ballpark of how much you think you will need to budget. Don’t forget to consider that prices might change some this year because of inflation!
Create A Separate Savings Account
To help you start saving for the holidays and keep you from spending the money you put aside, create a separate savings account just for your holiday fund. Most banks have a feature that allows you to set up different “funds” or “savings goals” within your savings account. An option to look into for next year is a “Christmas club account”! This account is a short-term account that’s set up by a financial institution to encourage consumers to set aside money for the holidays throughout the year. Some even can accrue interest. Check out your local bank or credit union to learn more.
Aside from you setting up a special account to allow you to save for the holiday spend, encourage your kids to set up a savings goal in the NuMoola app for this holiday season as well! This is an easy and teachable moment for them to learn about saving and planning ahead for things to come.
Contribute A Little Each Month
Now that you have a savings account set up, you might be wondering how much and how frequently you should contribute to it. We recommend automating your savings by contributing a certain amount each paycheck. The frequency and amount will depend on your costs. With the holidays right around the corner, you might need to put large sums towards your holiday savings this year. That being said, learning this now can help you be more prepared for next year.
Ask For Wish Lists Earlier
Since you’ve already figured out your total holiday costs, you know who you will need to buy gifts for this year. It never hurts to ask your friends and family for their holiday wish lists early! This will help you comparison shop and find the best deals. You might find that you are such a great shopper that you have extra money to buy some unexpected gifts, put in your savings to get a jumpstart on next year’s holiday season, or even give to a certain organization or family to spread some holiday cheer!
Start Saving For The Holidays NOW
If you want to feel more prepared for the end of this year, start saving now. Other tips to help get you there can be to rein in other spending, give fewer gifts, or regift! You’ve got this. Let’s get this holiday season started!