Even if you follow a carefully crafted budget for the whole year, the holiday season can leave your finances in shambles.
Because each of us tends to seriously overspend once the holiday season rolls around. With all the food, gifts, and general merriment surrounding the season, it's hard not to open your wallet on more than one unplanned occasion.
But there is a solution: start your very own holiday savings account as soon as humanly possible. Saving money for Christmas is a lot easier when you start thinking about it in the summer instead of two weeks before the big day.
How to Save Money During the Holidays
If you've followed the Atlas Credit blog for any period of time, you've surely come across our recommendations to keep both a savings and an emergency fund. With money set aside for each of these, you're usually ready to tackle any unexpected incident that requires more money than you have allocated for your typical monthly budget. Plus, a savings account is a healthy means of growing your finances for the future.
But neither of these should be used to cover the holiday extras. In fact, if you made a habit of dipping into your savings every year just to cover your Thanksgiving and Christmas excess, you'd find yourself starting over at near zero in savings every year.
Savings accounts are usually about snowballing that money over time. But a holiday savings is all about spending. In other words, they're way more exciting!
How to Avoid Overspending During the Holidays
Here's how you can get your holiday savings going strong months in advance:
- Save any extra money: Start putting away whatever extra you find at the end of each month after all bills are paid and regular savings are contributed to. The money you would ordinarily count toward entertainment, snacks and general non-essentials should be placed into its very own category called holiday savings. Remember: while you may feel disappointed at the end of each month that you aren't able to use this extra cash on your usual instant gratification purchases, having that money piled together once the holidays around will be oh so sweet.
- See if you can cut expenses elsewhere: Check and see if you've recently increased the amount you spend on any other categories in your budget. Maybe you've allocated more toward new subscription services, a larger data plan, or even a few more bucks into your actual savings account after each paycheck. Cutting from these will not harm your finances because they were bonus to begin with, and that money placed into holiday savings will be used for even greater enjoyment when the time comes to spend it!
- Think about reducing your gift list: Perhaps you can do a gift exchange at the office where everyone picks a name instead of buying everyone presents. Ask your extended family to enjoy an experience together, such as a trip to the zoo or even a concert instead of purchasing individual gifts. Your relatives will remember those special moments long after they'd remember, say, a new candle.
- Skip the huge gifts: While you may enjoy getting the people you love over-the-top presents that make them squeal in surprise, you can make just as significant an impact by giving your gift more thought and using restraint. When you purchase less-expensive gifts, you stick to your budget and enjoy an opportunity to exercise creativity. Give a child a card to get out of a chore. Offer a cousin a free night of babysitting.
- Don't let debt accumulate: When you get rid of outstanding debt, you can free up more money for the holidays. If you don't have high credit card bills to pay off, for example, you can put more of your paycheck toward buying new gifts. Making consistent, on-time payments also builds up your credit — a side benefit to paying down debt before Christmas.
- See if you can find a way to make some extra money each month: Whether that means taking on some odd jobs on the side or selling items you no longer need, any money you can contribute to your holiday savings will be more you can use to make this holiday season more memorable than ever!
Start Saving Money for Christmas With a Personal Loan From Atlas Credit
At Atlas Credit, we love the idea of holiday savings because it allows friends and families to come up with new and more exciting ways of enjoying the season together. One way to kickstart your holiday savings is of course through a quick and easy online personal loan! If you're in Longview or Houston, or anywhere in Texas or Oklahoma, and want a personal loan to make your holiday season special, contact us or apply online today!