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Imagine the feeling of knowing you have a completely funded “Christmas Savings” budget category once November hits. I know the feeling of wondering if I will have enough money to buy all of the presents on my Christmas list, or feeling like I need to put Christmas gifts on the credit card again.
The wonderful thing about the holidays, is that they come at the same time every year. With a savings plan in place, you can be happy, and at peace knowing that you have money saved to buy gifts for the ones you love.
If you would like more resources on how to manage your finances, I would recommend reading my “how to budget” post, and the article I wrote on how we paid off $266,000 of debt! I have also created a savings tracker you can use all-year-round!
Christmas Printable Savings Tracker
I have designed a free Christmas savings tracker for your use at any stage of your savings plan. I would recommend printing this savings tracker and placing it in a centralized area of your home, and begin filling in the tree as you save.
I have found that having a visual aid keeps goals at the forefront of my mind. I would recommend checking in with the visual aid every month! Evaluate what worked, and what didn’t work.
I have said before that budgets are very personal. What may be acceptable for me, might not be enough, or too much for you.
When it comes to goals, I like to work backwards. The first thing is write down the people you are buying presents for, and establish a budget for each person (don’t forget to include parties you may go to that include gift exchanges). Tally the total and be sure to leave some wiggle room for people you may have forgotten or unexpected events that may come up.
The next step is something you may choose to do differently than me: my Christmas budget is solely for gifts. You may choose to include money to buy holiday decorations, or for purchasing food for events. My husband and I enjoy having a very detailed budget; at the end of November or October, we budget for decorations under our “home decor” category, and any food we bring to parties are budgeted under our “potluck/serving others” category. You can choose to do this differently and that’s ok too!
Other miscellaneous things to consider when budgeting for Christmas include: your children’s school parties, a gift for your children’s teachers, mailman, or sponsoring a family or child in need, and Christmas cards. Again, these are all just ideas.
Keep a “Gift Ideas” Note on your Phone
There have been many times throughout the year when I hear gift “clues” from my loved ones. If I don’t write them down right away, they go in my mental circular file.
It’s so nice to have mindful ideas written down when it comes time to buy presents! I don’t enjoy purchasing a gift for someone that isn’t meaningful, or that they won’t use. That’s a big, fat, waste of money. When in doubt, you can always ask the person what they are into, things they need or want, and go from there.
How to buy Christmas gifts for Less
If there are specific items that your friends or family want, keep an eye on those things to see when they go on sale and checking-in on the site to avoid missing the sales event. Save that money, honey!
I like to check on Cyber Monday, and Black Friday to see if anything on my Christmas shopping list goes on sale.
Another idea to save money on gifts is to look year-round (if you have money in your “Christmas” category budget), at sale items. For example, the next time you are at Target, or a department store, check their clearance aisle for great toys for a kids gift exchange, or their home decor clearance aisle for an adult gift exchange item. You can also find some amazing, practical gifts that you can use for Christmas!
Consider buying experiences instead of gifts
This year my family will be doing things a little differently. We are going to spend a small amount on presents for our kids, and on each other, and instead focus on experiences.
Some examples of memorable experiences gifts:
For your significant other:
Cooking class date
Night at the Museum date
Tickets to see their favorite musician
One month membership to their favorite exercise class
Tickets to a professional sports game
Hot Air Balloon Ride
A nice couples date
A Spa Treatment
Something fun and adventurous like surfing or sailing lessons
An overnight date
For your kids:
A pass to somewhere local, and fun for the kids.
An overnight with one of your kids
A family vacation
A one-on-one day trip to somewhere really special with your kids like a local amusement park
Games that you can play together
Miniature golf tickets
How many weeks until Christmas?
Once you have figured out how much you want to save for your Christmas budget, and how much time you have left until Christmas, then start making a PLAN to save for Christmas. You can calculate how many days/weeks until Christmas at this link.
Christmas Goals: Budget all-year-round
If you get a bill of $600, that’s alot of money at once, and can feel unmanageable. On the other hand, if you get a bill for $50 every month, it can feel much more manageable! In January, I challenge you to start saving money every month for Christmas!
There is freedom and flexibility when you have money to spend on gifts in July. As you start thinking about Christmas presents in July, be mindful of the individuals you are purchasing for and get a head start on those sale items.
Don’t let the holidays feel stressful and guilt-ridden. With your savings plan in place, you are setting a peaceful mindset or the holidays.
How to make extra money for Christmas
If you are starting now, no matter what month it is, I have some ideas on how you can make some extra cash for the holidays:
Have a Garage Sale
This is one of my favorite go to’s because you can see instant results. Go through your household items that you no longer need, and turn it into cash! The key to having a successful garage sale is to be realistic in your pricing, make sure you have everything organized and accessible, and ADVERTISE!!! Post about your garage sale on your local facebook marketplace groups, craigslist, garage sale apps, and make lots of signs for locals to find you!
Sell clothing that is in great condition on second-hand website
There are different demographic for garage sales and selling online. Generally, at garage sales, people are looking for screaming deals! They are hoping to pay the least amount for your items, and more often than not, are browsing through everything.
When you sell your items on a second-hand website like Mercari, Ebay, or Offerup, people are usually looking for specific items they want or need. You have more leverage when people need what you have, hence, you can charge more. To figure out pricing for these websites, I check previously posted items, and then price accordingly.
Picking up extra hours at work can be an option, but if it isn’t, I would explore side jobs!
Side Job Ideas
*Become an Uber Driver or Lyft Driver
*Become a teacher with VIPkid
*Deliver groceries for Instacart or any other delivery opportunities
Conclusion of Christmas Savings Article
I am very excited for you to use this Christmas Savings Tracker to plan for a stress-free holiday season for you and your family. If you post it in your house somewhere, please take a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook: @casamochi. I would LOVE to see it!
As always, thanks for stopping by!