Getting Ready For The Holidays
Making plans for the holiday season has never been more important than it is now in 2021. It doesn’t matter what you celebrate, whether it be Hanukkah, Christmas or what have you, a successful holiday season takes one thing, money. Money, unfortunately, is in short supply this year for many people. This doesn’t mean that you can not have a great holiday though, you just have to plan.
Here are some things that you can do to make this a successful holiday without spending a fortune.
Create A Holiday Budget
The very first thing that you need to do is make a holiday budget. You need a plan in order to maximize your savings and stay on track. The earlier that you do this, the better. The closer that you get to the holiday season, the more likely you will be to inflate your budget with holiday temptations. So, make it now to keep your expenses reasonable.
When making your budget, be sure to factor in all of your holiday expenses. This includes things like travel, decorations, food and gifts for family and friends. Once you have your holiday budget settled, you can move on to the next step, saving the money to pay for it.
Open A Holiday Savings Account
Open a savings account devoted strictly to your holiday expenses. You need to have a separate account so that you do not co-mingle funds with your checking or other savings.
The best account to get will be an online savings account. You want an online account that is separate from your regular bank for several good reasons.
First is the fact that the money would be harder to get to. It will take a full business days to make a transfer from an online savings account. That means that you have time to change your mind before raiding your savings for an impulse buy.
Another benefit is that an online savings account will pay much more in interest. Most online banks will pay at least ten times more interest than your local bank will. This may only be a few extra dollars a month, but every penny counts these days.
Once you have your online savings account, set up automatic transfers to it. Take your expected budget and divide it by the paychecks that you have left until the Holiday season. Then make your automatic withdrawals for this amount on the day that you get paid. Make sure that you make transfers for the day that you get paid so that you never see the money. You can not miss what you never see.
Switch To Want-Need-Wear-Read
If you want to save money this season and get back to the real meaning of the holidays, switch your family to a want, a need, a wear and a read.
Buy each of your kids something they want, something they need, something they wear and a book to read. Each of your kids gets just 4 gifts, saving you money and keeping them from getting over stimulated.
It might seem strange to limit your gift giving to just four gifts for your children, but it makes sense. Think about how many holidays you have spent with toys scattered all over the floor while your kids focus on just one of their gifts.
This giving concept will prevent the normal waste and over indulgence that is a part of most holiday seasons.
Limit Your External Gift Giving
Are you the type of person who likes to buy everyone you know a gift? Perhaps now would be a time to break this habit. Switch to giving only cards or small homemade gifts, people will understand, especially with the current sate of the economy.
If you have traditionally been a gift giver, try to implement your new system quickly and give your gifts before you receive anything in return. Giving your gifts out early will give your acquaintances time to modify their gift giving plan. This may help avoid any awkwardness from getting a gift and having nothing to give in return.
Another strategy to cut down on gift giving is to push White Elephant parties where everyone brings just one gift. They are fun to throw and everyone involved will save money.
Plan A Pot Luck Party
Instead of throwing a big holiday dinner, go pot luck. Holiday meals can get pricey in a hurry, but if everyone buys or makes just one dish, costs come down dramatically.
Going pot luck has several advantages that go beyond just saving money. It lessens your work load so that you can enjoy your party and it adds to the variety of food. Just think about all of the things that your guests might make, many of them things that you would have never considered.
Get Back To The Basics
With the current state of the economy and even the world, getting back to basics is a great thing to do this holiday season.
Make this holiday season more about being with family and less about material things. You do not need a lot of money to have a good time and, if you have kids, this is a great lesson to pass on to your children.
A child that learns to save money instead of spending without limits will be on the path to a successful financial future.