It is never too early to start thinking about building a Christmas Savings Plan! For many families, Christmas is one of the biggest (and most expensive) holidays of the year.
Planning ahead is key to making the holiday less stressful and more affordable.
Let’s take a look and some simple, yet effective ways to jump start your Christmas savings!
Start Saving Money for Christmas
It’s never going to be cheaper than it is today to start saving. With every day that passes, that is more money that you’ll need to come up with to reach your savings goal for Christmas.
Let’s check out these simple steps to jump into your Christmas savings plan.
Step One: Figure out how much money you need for Christmas.
This can vary differently between families based on your budget, your priorities and family size.
One thing my very large family implemented for all the adult sister, brothers, cousins, etc. was using Elfster!
Step Two: How much time do you have to save money?
One of the easiest ways to start saving is to take a look at how much time you have until Christmas and then count the weeks back until today.
Once you know how many weeks you have to save, divide the amount of money you need by the number of weeks.
Let’s say you have tons of family to shop for, or perhaps you want to take a road trip for the holidays– you need $1,000.
If you have 15 weeks until you need the money, you need to save about $67/week.
If you had started back in January, you would have only needed to save about $20/ week.
If you only need to save $500 in 15 weeks, thats about $34/week.
Step Three: Decide where should you keep your savings?
You have a few options:
FIRST: You can keep it in a high yield savings account.
Capital One has these fantastic Capital One 360 saving accounts (not a sponsored post and no affiliate) that I use for this type of thing.
It’s no fee, requires $0 balance and has 1% APY (at the time of posting).
Ally is another one I’ve used before. If you google high yield savings accounts, you can find some good options.
SECOND: You can keep cash on hand. Everyone knows cash is king!
THIRD: You can pre-purchase gift cards.
Just be sure to check about expiration dates and if there are any non-use fees.
I like to purchase Target gift cards through out the year. Grabbing $10 or $20 when I have a little extra cash.
If Target is not your jam (say whaaaaat?!) most retailers sell gift cards.
Step Four: How to Save for Christmas?
By now you are asking yourself, now that you’ve figured out how much you need, how quickly you need it, and where you’re going to keep it– the next logical question is how are you going to save for Christmas.
Automate Saving for Christmas.
Once you have any idea of how much you can commit to your Christmas fund, pick a day (or a few) and have the money automatically taken out of your checking account.
The beauty of automating is you get to set it and forget it. You are not tempted to not contribute, you don’t miss the money that you never see.
Save your Change.
I’m sure if you don’t already have one, you’ve seen them. A change jar
Grab a jar or bucket and every time you come across change or get change, dump it all into your Christmas fund savings jar.
You’ll be surprised how quickly all those coins add up and it something that you won’t typically miss.
My kids saved all their quarters in a gallon milk jug and it ended up being a few hundred dollars by the time they filled it to the top.
Sell unwanted items.
Have a garage sale. Clean out your closet. Sell all that exercise equipment, you swore you were going to use, but now is collecting dust (#nojudgements).
You’ll be surprised when you take stock of what you have lying around.
Get a side hustle.
House sit. Walk dogs. Babysit. Bake and sell cookies. Wash cars. Sell plasma. Sell your aluminum cans.
Get creative. There are tons of quick and easy ways to make money.
Watch Clearance and Discount Sites to Stock up.
Since you already have an idea of how much you want to spend, chances are you already know who you are shopping for.
Throughout the year, especially around holidays (Labor Day, Prime Day (not a holiday but those sales tho!) 4th of July, Back to School) many stores offer deep discounts.
If you see something on deep discount, why not get it and hold onto it until Christmas?
Don’t Forget your Favorite Cash Back and Coupon Sites.
I am a big fan of online shopping. Anything that means I don’t have to schlep my kids to the store is A+ in my book. You know one great thing about shopping online? There are tons of good resources for coupons and discount codes. Some of my favorites are:
Honey. Helps you find the best price on Amazon. It shows you available coupons for the website you are shopping on. It’s as easy as clicking “apply coupons” button on your taskbar (You have to install Honey plugin on your computer). Lastly, you can leave something in the “save for later” part of the cart and Honey will let you know when the price drops– aka the Drop List.
Bonus! When Honey makes a commission from the sale of an item, they split it with you, it’s called “Honey Gold”. Once you receive a certain level of “honey gold” you can redeem for gift cards to a variety of vendors (Target, Amazon, etc.).
Rakuten (formerly Ebates). Want to earn cash back for shopping online buying things that you would have purchased anyway? Then this is for you.
Rakuten is huge. You get a certain percentage (it’s different with each vendor) and once a month you’ll get the cash back on the purchases you made. You can use this for booking hotels, airfare, buying clothes, toiletries, groceries, etc. Who doesn’t love free money!!
You can join for free and with my referral link, you get $10 after your first purchase of $25 or more!
RetailMeNot. Download the plugin or search through their website and find coupons and promo codes to help save you money.
If you want to jump start your savings today, be sure to grab these Christmas Savings Plan and Christmas Shopping Checklist printables!
Bringing It All Together
The early you start saving for Christmas, the less money you have to contribute each day, week, or month (depending on your chosen strategy).
Have a clear idea of how much you need to save, how long you want to save and where you are going to keep your savings once you get started!
I’d love to hear how these strategies and printables worked for you. Please comment below!