Think it’s too early to start planning for the winter holidays? Think again!
Holiday expenses can take a massive toll on your bank account, so it’s important to start budgeting and saving as soon as possible. Whether you’re looking forward to parties with friends, wintertime travel or thoughtful gifts for loved ones, we’ve got a few top-notch savings tips to help you get ahead on holiday expenses.
Make It Fun
Don’t force yourself to save – challenge yourself to save! Turning a savings plan into a game will help you stay on track and reach your goals. For a fun holiday savings challenge, fill a jar with scraps of paper that contain the numbers 1 to 9. Each week, draw a scrap of paper. You can either put that amount of money into savings, or you can challenge yourself to save even more by drawing a second piece of paper, which will add another numeral to that week’s savings. If you’ve got kids at home, they can help out by decorating the challenge jar, selecting papers, or writing down the weekly sums on a challenge scoreboard.
Have a Figure In Mind
Knowing exactly how much you want to save for the holidays is a lot more effective than simply trying to save ‘as much as possible.’ With a specific figure in mind, you can watch you savings get closer and closer to the target, which will motivate you to keep going. Grab a free HUECU Savings Schedule worksheet to set some goals and create a practical schedule. The worksheet has links to other resources as well, including a guide to which savings vehicle may be best for you.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Nothing pushes a savings strategy off course faster than an unexpected expense. To ensure your holiday savings remain intact, take an hour or two to sit down and consider what ‘emergency’ costs might be coming in the next few months. Car engine making a funny noise? Cell phone battery on the fritz? Instead of ignoring these potential issues, confront them head on by either paying for repairs now, or budgeting for them in the future. While it may feel dispiriting to add more expenditures to your budget, it’s always better – and less expensive – to know what costs are coming.
Start a New Account
Opening a new account and designating it for holiday savings only is a great way to get excited and go the distance on your holiday savings goals. Check out a single-purpose account like HUECU’s Club Savings Accounts, which are designed to help you save for specific expenses. You can make regular deposits or set up an ongoing payroll deduction contribution to automatically add funds. Your money will also be earning interest while it’s accumulating, so you get even more bang for your buck!
Do a Summer Spending Inventory
Before you crack open your next summertime beach read, take some time to comb through your latest bank statement. Where did your money actually go in the last month? Any subscriptions you’re still paying for, even though they haven’t been used since January? Perusing your financial documents might not be quite as exciting as digging into a novel, but doing a summer spending inventory is a key step to help you trim outgoing expenses as you prepare to hit your savings goals by the time the holidays arrive.