If last year is any indication, you can expect to spend a budget busting $800 or more on gifts this upcoming holiday season. In order to be prepared for this year’s shopping spree, America Saves recommends you start saving now and follow these steps to a happy holiday and budget.
1. Make your list and check it twice
Develop a budget for your holiday spending, and be as honest about the dollar amount as possible. Include line items for gift-giving to family, friends, and colleagues, travel, food, and entertainment. Don’t forget to include any extras tip to your babysitter, hair stylist, or favorite barista in your budget.
2. Prioritize and negotiate
What do you need to make your holiday happy and successful? Divvy up your list into needs versus wants. You may need to pay for travel to your holiday destination, but maybe you can pack some food from the pantry rather than buying a meal along the way. The goal here isn’t necessarily to shorten the length of your list (although doing so will help, too), but rather to reduce the dollar amounts for your list.
3. Tally it up and set your savings goal
Add up the total of your holiday list, and don’t be shy about reducing it some more. Once you’re at a number (and a list) that is both realistic and manageable, make that amount your savings goal. Those who make a commitment to save usually save more than those who don’t. Take the America Saves Pledge to make your commitment real and gain monthly advice and support along the way.
4. Make it automatic. The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically. Contact your bank or credit union and set up an automatic monthly transfer to a holiday savings account. Since you know your savings goal from the previous steps, divide it by the five months left until the holidays, and you’ll have exactly what you need when the dreidels start spinning and sleigh bells start ringing.
The holidays seem a long way off, but it's never too early to start saving for gifts and travel: http://bit.ly/2afBk1K v/ @AmericaSaves
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