Do you save for Christmas or prefer not to think about it until November?
I know it may seem a long way away but if you don’t save for Christmas before you know it, it will be next week and you’re trying to cram in last minute shopping and your budget is out of control.
Saving for Christmas might seem silly when it’s so far away and really, you don’t spend that much Xmas gifts do you?
I’ve learned the hard way that I have to plan in advance otherwise I get caught up in all the Christmas hype and get carried away with buying fun Xmas decorations and food gifts. I didn’t used to save for Christmas for many reasons but the biggest reason was I disliked Christmas!
Why save for it when I actually dislike Christmas and everything that gets wrapped up in it and have to think about it months before it actually happened?
Much of my Christmas dislike was tied up in the whole food thing. In my family we had to sit around the Christmas dinner table for hours on end with nibbles within reach and the adults chatting about boring stuff.
I ended up stuffing myself with food due to boredom as I wasn’t allowed to leave the table, watch TV or not be sociable.
Needless to say I do not have any of those traditions now that I am a grown up!
On top of my active dislike I also had these thoughts:
- it’s so far away – I can save later on
- it’s not essential spending, better to save for future car repairs
- I don’t spend that much (oh really?!)
- I won’t buy for so many people this year
- I’m still paying off last year
- its just a big roast dinner so no real extra cost
- no need to buy all the nibbles as this year we’re going to be healthy
- we can pay for it with October and November’s wages
But Christmas does happen every year and I eventually recognised that I needed to get myself a savings plan and budget. I was causing myself more stress not planning for Christmas.
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7 easy ways to save for Christmas
ONE – Who are you buying for?
Might seem a simple question but often you forget until it’s present buying time just how many people you usually buy for. Make a list of everyone you usually buy for.
If it’s more than 20 people you might want to reconsider whether a present for everyone is really necessary. Are you exchanging gifts just for the sake of it? Could you do cards instead or secret Santa/token presents?
Related posts: How to Buy Xmas Gifts – When You’re On a Tight Budget
TWO – Budget per person
Next you should identify what your Xmas gift budget is for every person on your list. This is the maximum you intend to spend not the minimum.
Your budget will likely depend on whether they are close family, friends or distant relatives you meet at Christmas time only. Total everything up and see how much you think you plan on spending on Xmas gifts alone.
Remember this doesn’t include food, days out, fuel for travelling over the holidays, cards and wrap.
THREE – Amend your budget
If your total comes as a bit of a shock (mine usually does) then now is the time to be honest with yourself and cut those figures down. £20 might buy a nice present for Aunty Flo, but so will £10.
Repeat this across your gift list and you have some immediate savings.
FOUR – Plan your savings
Now you know what your gift budget is, you need a plan on how you are going to save for Christmas in order to be able to afford these gifts without going into debt.
If you are starting in January then the easiest way to save for Christmas is to divide your gift budget by 12 and save 1/12 that amount every month.
If its not January when you start saving for Christmas then for this 1st year you need to work out how many months are left before Christmas and divide your gift budget by those months. e.g.
- In July you have 6 months to save your gift budget of £500.
- £500/6 months = £84 you need to save each month
- In January you would have 12 months to save £500 so the maths would be:
- £500/12 months = £42 per month savings
Related post: The Perfectly Simple 12 Week Christmas Savings Plan
FIVE – Christmas savings account
Put your savings into a separate account which is purely for Christmas. That way you won’t be tempted to touch it and the money won’t get spent on something else.
Related reading: How to choose the best cash savings account
SIX- Loyalty cards
Save reward points from your loyalty cards. These can add up to quite a few pounds and can be exchanged nearer Christmas for gifts.
SEVEN – Credit cards
Save your credit card cashback. I have a credit card that gives me 1% on some of my shopping and am saving all the cashback to spend in November and December. I already have £65 which will help pay for a few gifts.
Keep it up
Once you’ve started saving for Christmas make sure you continue it from January next year. It becomes an easy habit and doesn’t cost very much when spread out over the whole year.
Since I started saving every month I have felt much better about Christmas. I still don’t love it but I definitely don’t actively dislike it!
Related post: How to Buy Xmas Gifts – When You’re On a Tight Budget