Holiday Savings Account
There is nothing worse than trying to finance holiday purchases from just a few paychecks. If you wait until November or December to start thinking about the holiday, you might wind up doing just that. Worse yet, you might find yourself taking out an expensive emergency loan. Don’t let that be you this year. Start a separate holiday savings account and make this year a bit less stressful.
The first thing that you need to do is open a savings account. You might be inclined to open one up with your current bank but that may not be the best idea. Opening up an account at your current bank could be an issue if you are not the most disciplined spender. Every time you check your checking balance, you will see that money there and think about spending it. In addition, because it is with the same bank, instant transfers will probably be an option. That could be disastrous.
A better idea is to open up an account with an outside bank. You can still link the account to make transfers easy but it will be delayed by at least a day. That gives you a cooling off period that could help prevent impulse spending.
You have a lot of options for online accounts. Choose one with the best interest rate and best online features. The interest probably won’t add up to too much but every dollar counts.
Funding Your Account
There are a lot of ways to fund a holiday savings account. The extremes that you need to go to will depend on just how big you need that account to be. Have a large family? You’ve got some work to do. Let’s get started.
Automatic Deposits From Checking
First, you need to set an amount out of each check that you want to save. Take the amount of money that you need for holiday spending and divide it by the remaining paychecks that you have until then. Then, set up an automatic transfer of money from your checking to your savings account on the day that you get paid. If you need 1000 dollars to spend for the holidays and you have ten checks left, set up a 100 dollar transfer. It’s as easy as that.
But what if you do not have enough extra money to transfer? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Transfer as much as you can and we will find you some ways to come up with some extra money.
Sell What You Don’t Need
You can probably walk around your home and see a dozen things that you bought but never or rarely use. Turn this into holiday money by selling them while they still have some value.
Your go to resource for selling is eBay. You have to mess with shipping but you will usually get top dollar for your items and you will not have to risk meeting anybody in person. If you have a phone to sell, Gazelle might be the best solution. They will buy your item and even spring for shipping costs.
If you have larger items to sell, going local is the way to go. You can brave the world of Craigslist or if you have enough items, a garage sale might be the ticket. Consider having a multi family garage sale if you do not have enough to sell or you want to attract a larger crowd. A well planned out garage sale could easily net you a 500 dollar deposit into your savings account. Not bad for a few hours on a Saturday morning.
Get A Side Job
Side jobs are easier than ever these days thanks to Uber and Lyft. If you have a suitable four door car, you are in business. Uber claims their drivers make $25 an hour and Lyft claims $35 an hour. Your earnings may vary based on what city you live in and what hours that you drive. Busier times equals more money.
Another great option is to do some part time retail work. Places like Target, Walmart and many other retail establishments make great side income. Target and Walmart just massively increased their starting pay and no matter which place you choose, an employee discount could come in handy when it comes time to actually shop.
One last, choice, if you really do not have time to get out and work, you can consider surveys. You are not going to make a fortune with them but you could do $50 a month. They pay in gift cards but you can get that money in paypal cards and then direct it into your savings account. You could also just get gift cards for the places where you intend to shop like Walmart or Amazon.
Spending Your Money
When it comes time to spend your money, make the most of it. The best way to do that is to have a plan. Write out a list with exactly what you need to buy and stick to it. Be realistic and spend within your means. Also keep in mind that you do not have to spend your entire holiday savings. Anything leftover can go to your regular emergency savings or, if you do not have one, it can help you start one.
Start shopping for your gifts just as soon as you can. Retailers often pass on the best savings to early shoppers so that the can get the season started. The two best days to get your shopping done are Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Chances are good that you can fulfill all of your holiday needs on those two days. If you do, you will probably save a lot of money and, best of all, get done shopping early so that you can enjoy the holiday.