It’s only 49 days until Black Friday, have you started your saving yet? For many, saving for the holidays is a daunting task. Many will resort to putting their purchases on credit cards and accumulating some horrifying interest. Saving doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
I’ve also discovered some unique ways to save your income for the holidays. Again, some of these are effortless, others will take less than 1 minute a week. Seriously!
First thing’s first. You should have already made your list and set your budget. (If you haven’t, click on those red words and read some good tips on how to do it.) I know, it seems crazy to already be thinking about it, but remember, planning is everything. No, I’m not a super organized freak (not to be taken as derogatory, I envy those of you who are), but holiday spending is something that can get out of control extremely quickly if you don’t monitor it closely.
Once you know how much you’re going to spend, you need to figure out how long until you are going to spend it. If you are planning on doing the majority of your shopping on Black Friday, you have 49 days from today to save for it. That’s just 7 paydays! If you are planning on spending $1,000 this year, you’ll need to sock back $143 each week. Now if you started your saving on January 1st, you would be putting up $21 each week and drawing interest on the balance in a savings account.
Creative Ways to Save
- Pick up a store gift card and add to it regularly. I’ve found that gift cards to Walmart and Target are pretty much the same as cash. If you run short during the year, you can use them to buy groceries, diapers, fix a tire, or even buy a prepaid cash card. If you add just $5 a week during your regular shopping (and who doesn’t go to Walmart once a week-if you don’t, trust me, the rest of us are jealous and you don’t need to post your success in the comments), you’ll never notice it gone. That’s as much as you’d spend on a magazine in the checkout line.
Your $5 a week will equate to nearly $250 each year! You can even use it to buy gift cards to restaurants and other stores.
- Buy Amazon Gift Cards. This is very similar to the above, except that Amazon literally has anything you can dream of (unlike some Walmart stores after the remodel). You can purchase these online and add them directly to your account so you always have a positive balance with them.
- Open an ING Direct Account. ING is an online bank that has been around for years. It’s a very reputable bank that allows you to set up countless free savings accounts (similar to the envelope method if you’re on the Dave Ramsey program) for whatever you choose. We have one for each of the kids, vacations, savings, etc. You can choose to manually transfer money from your bank account or have it automatically withdrawn on a certain day. You can set up recurring payments and cancel at any time.
The upside to this is that you still have cash, and whatever you don’t spend, you get to keep tucked away! It does take about 2-3 days to transfer the money back into your bank account, so you won’t be tempted to spend it on impulse purchases.
If you implement one (or all) of these tips regularly, it will become habit. You will become accustomed to dishing out $5-$20 each week and not pay a bit of attention to it. Your savings will grow, grow, grow!
Stay tuned tomorrow for the next post in Saving Your Way to a Better Holiday Season. This post will help you earn some extra holiday cash!