Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but let’s be honest, it can also be the most taxing. With all the shopping to be done, meals to prepare, family get togethers, and lack of sunlight throughout the day, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. According to Experian, the average American has racked up over six grand in credit card debt, but with a little preplanning and these tips, you don’t have to let budget worries add to your Christmastime stress.
1. Many banks offer Christmas or holiday club accounts to help you save throughout the year. Don’t let the name mislead you, it isn’t a club at all, but rather a savings account that you don’t have access to until later in the year. Once you sign up, your bank will automatically take a small portion of your payday and transfer it for safekeeping, until the Yuletide is merry and it’s time to go shopping. This option is ideal for people who can’t resist the temptation to spend any extra buildup of cash.
2. Starting in January, shopping for one present each pay period can prove helpful for a couple of reasons. You have much of your gift buying finished by the holiday season, and you won’t have to drop a pile of money at once, come December. If you get your groceries from a big box store, you can grab gifts then, without tacking too much time onto your trip. If brick and mortar stores aren’t your thing, memberships like Amazon Prime and Overstock Club O can save money with free shipping and save you valuable time by cutting out the guess work with friend’s and family member’s online wish lists. This option is good for people who have enough closet space to store the presents and for people who hate waiting until the last minute.
3. Lastly, you can go old school and squirrel away cash in a piggybank or, less conspicuously, an envelope in your sock drawer. If you’re paid bi-monthly, stashing just twenty dollars from each check yields nearly $500 by the middle of December. This option is good for people who are disciplined enough to leave the money to accumulate without borrowing from it.
You don’t have to let Christmas shopping leave you feeling anxious. Get the gift related stress out of your mind so you can worry about more important things, like eating pie and letting your Nana pour you another glass of her signature holly jolly cranberry cocktail.