We’re halfway through November, which means (at least, for me) that it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. Though I am a strict “no holiday decorations until after Thanksgiving” kind of person, I do buy all of my Christmas gifts in November, before all the sales and big crowds at the mall. I also refuse to go into new debt to buy these gifts.
I love to give people Christmas gifts, and if I were not trying to pay off my student loans, I would probably spend a lot more on them. However, given my love of holiday gifting under budgetary constraints, I utilize my savings account to meet my Christmas spirit needs. Here’s how.
Each month, I transfer the same amount of money from my checking account to my “Holiday Gifts and Fun” savings account. It is the same amount each month and I do it every month — yes, even in November, when I buy everything. For example, I budget $500 for Christmas gifts each year, which means I save $45 each month in to my gifts fund. Then, when I go out and buy everything, I can do so without any guilt or debt.
I also use my cash rewards credit card for all gift purchases. I pay it off immediately with the cash in my gifts account. Then, I move the rewards I have earned back to my gifts account to start me off for the next year. I also like to use that extra money to treat myself to something for the holidays — again, all without any new debt or anxiety over having misspent my money.
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Using a dedicated savings account for gifting and saving a small amount each month allows me to be more generous at Christmas. I don’t have to make decisions, like if $75 is too much to spend on my sister — because I already have that money sitting in a fund dedicated to buying gifts for the people I love. I find that I can buy more gifts for more people by having a dedicated set of money to spend, which is more than I could put toward gifts if I were just using my typical monthly budget.
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Although my gifts fund is a great way to be more generous, it also helps me stay relaxed and joyful during the holiday season. Since I have that cash available, I do not have to stress about using layaway or a credit card, nor do I have any anxiety over whether I am choosing to buy a present instead of being able to pay my bills next month.
Seeing the total amount in my savings account and knowing that I cannot spend more than is in there is also a good reality check for sticking to my budget. Though $250 might not seem like a lot of money to spend on one person,
you soon realize you would be spending half your entire gift budget. For me, seeing that money in one place helps with those types of decisions.
It might seem weird to save for Christmas gifts all year, but personally, being able to gift the way I want to without incurring any new debt or stress makes it all worth it. Plus, I get to have some holiday cheer all year round.
More From Our Smart Money Squad
- I’m Using My Credit Card Now to Earn Rewards for the Holidays
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- Watch: How Much Would You Have If You Saved $1 a Day for Your Entire Life?
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