The holiday season is slowly creeping around the corner. Before we know it we’ll be stowing away our swimsuits and replacing summer cocktails with hot coco. With the holidays being less than five months away, now is a great time to start saving up for holiday gifts for your friends and family.
1.Shop the sales. Retailers love to draw consumers in with their holiday sale gimmick; however, the truth of the matter is that many products are discounted at various points throughout the year. With that being said, if you spot a great deal, take advantage of it! A good example would be winter items and clothes which tend to be substantially discounted around the close of the summer season. You don’t have to wait until Black Friday to get a good deal, just keep an eye out for deals and specials throughout the year.
2. Purchase a gift card each pay check. This is perhaps my favorite holiday gift savings method! Start by making a list of all of the people you’d like to purchase gift cards for. You may also want to jot down what type of gift card you want to buy for each person. Each time you get paid (which for most people is every two weeks), purchase a gift card off of your list. Your savings start date should depend on how many gift cards you need to purchase. For example, if you start in September, you will have purchased 10 gift cards by the time Christmas rolls around.
3. Donate or sell old toys. Out with the old, and in with the new! This is a great holiday savings method for those of you who have children. If your household is anything like mine, you probably have tons of tots and boxes filled with toys that your child(ren) no longer play with. Rather than leave them around the house to add to the clutter, consider donating them to a local organization. In most cases, you’ll be able to use the donation as a charitable tax write-off. Another option is to sell the old toys to your local children’s re-sell shop and then put the money towards your holiday gift budget. This method could also work for donating and/or selling other items such as clothing or furniture.
4. Establish a holiday savings fund and add money each pay period. In my opinion, this is the easiest and most practical holiday savings method. Start by establishing a budget for your holiday gift spending and the month that you want to start saving. For example, let’s say that your budget is $2000 and you plan to contribute to your holiday savings fund from January through October. This means that you would need to save $200/month in order to reach your goal by October (which gives you about two months to shop). If you get paid twice a month then that’s $100 per paycheck. Be sure to keep this money in an account that is separate from any other money. These days, most banks and credit unions have holiday club (savings) accounts that offer several perks. Keep in mind that you can also make arrangements with your HR department so that a certain amount of your paycheck can be deposited directly into your holiday savings fund.