The following is a post from staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, where she writes about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting in the fun stuff along the way.
I know Christmas is half a year away, but what better time to start saving a little money so you don’t have to sell an organ on the black market to afford your holiday splurges down the road? I’d highly suggest creating a rough holiday budget and saving enough each month from here on to hit your target. Here are a few other tips to save for the holidays.
Start a Holiday Account
If you want to make sure not to spend your holiday savings, you can open one up a special account at your local bank or credit union and sock away money every month. If you prefer online institutions, open a Smarty Pig goal for the holidays or start a separate ING account. This will make it easy for you to keep holiday money separate from your regular savings. I am a huge ING fan and lean towards them whenever I need another bucket account.
Eliminate a Monthly Bill
Most people have some monthly expense they may not need. Do you use your cable, home phone, or that gym membership you signed up for? If you get rid of just one of these bills, you can free up some monthly money for your holiday savings each month. If you decide you actually liked whatever service you cancelled, you can always restart it once you have saved the money that you need. If my husband and I wanted to free up $100 a month, we’d cancel his Massage Envy membership and our Netflix subscription.
Work a Couple of Extra Hours a Week
You can save $100 a month or more by working a few more hours each month. Just doing an hour or two of overtime a week could add up quickly. If you don’t get overtime at work, look into a part-time job that you may only need to work a day or evening a week. I’d highly suggest dog-sitting, babysitting, or even approaching a local store to get a few extra hours of work a week. I worked at our local bookstore for a few months in 2007 so I could save for our first Christmas in our new house.
Give Up a Habit
Do you eat out frequently like we do? Do you smoke? Drink? Need Starbucks to get through a day? No matter what your habit may be, if you can give it up, you’ll be freeing up money for the holidays or whatever other goal you’d like to achieve. My husband and I start eating out less during months we want something else more. We both also gave up daily sodas to afford the monthly Weight Watchers Online membership fees of $18 each – it worked out for our wallets and our waist line!
Saving money for the holidays or any goal doesn’t have to be painful. I’d highly suggest looking into your options and setting up a little holiday budget today.
What other tips to save for the holidays can you think of? Have you tried any of the above?