Many consider the holidays to be the most wonderful time of the year! Unfortunately, many families find it is also the most expensive. If you haven’t already started budgeting for the meals, travel, gifts, decorations, and more, you could find yourself with a lot of debt come January. Continue to read for tips on how to make sure you are prepared for the expenses of the holiday season.
Start saving for the holidays early. In a perfect world, you’d make it a habit to save for the holidays throughout the year. Say you set out to save $90 per month for holiday expenses. By the time the season rolls around, you’d have over $1,000 to cover your costs. This might seem like an inconvenience in the short term, but it will likely be easier to manage than saving $270 per month in the last four months of the year. KPCU offers a Christmas Club account where you can save year-round. Christmas Club funds are transferred to your Shares (Savings) the first of October each year, so funds are readily available to you when you’re ready to start shopping.
For some, saving ahead of time isn’t always possible, especially if you have other pressing financial obligations. If you didn’t plan ahead this year, there are ways to help you stay on track.
Create a Holiday Budget. Revisit how much you spent last year to get an idea of what your expenses will be this year. Make a list of gift recipients, travel, and celebrations, and set a dollar amount for each line item. The best way to keep track of how much you are spending is to write it down. Make it a goal to stay within your goals for each line. If you spend less in certain areas, you can spend more in others. It’s okay if you need to reevaluate your holiday plans in order to stay within your budget.
Take a closer look at your spending habits: Look for ways to trim your monthly costs and put those savings into your holiday budget. One way to help boost your savings is to review your monthly subscriptions—you could be paying for unused or forgotten subscriptions.
Look for ways to increase your disposable income: If it feels like you only earn enough to cover the essentials, look for opportunities to earn extra income to help fund your holiday spending. Consider picking up a side hustle in your free time or using this as an opportunity to clear out clutter in your home and resell.
Take advantage of sales: Take advantage of holiday sales like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday to save on gifts for your loved ones. You can also sign up to receive emails from your favorite retailers so that you never miss out on a sale or coupon. Also, you don’t have to wait for the holidays to come around to start making purchases. Thrifty shoppers shop for the holidays all year!
Set yourself up for next year: Finding yourself in a financial crunch is stressful, so do what you can now to set yourself up for next year. Open a KPCU Christmas Club account for your holiday savings. Automate your deposits so you can stay on track with your goals, Your future self will thank you.