Saving Early for the Holidays

With summer here, the last thing on our minds is winter, snow, and the holiday season. But maybe it shouldn’t be. Holiday spending in 2017 saw its biggest increase since 2010, and the National Retail Federation said, “the results were even better than anything we could have hoped for.” If this trend continues, it may be in our best interest to plan ahead.

Though the thought seems scary, a little effort now can go a long way later. In fact, if you start putting $50 per week into savings in July, you would have $1,250 by Christmas! Or if you save $25 instead, you would have $625; still a good chunk of change.

Here are some easy tips to try for holiday preparation:

  1. Be aware of your everyday spending. The first step is understanding where your money is going. From here, not only is it much easier to create a budget, but you can likely find areas you can cut back.
  2. Find hidden income sources around your house. Who doesn’t have “stuff” lying around they don’t use anymore (or need for that matter)? Sort through it and have a garage sale, sell it online, or visit a local consignment shop.
  3. Try to decrease monthly bill payments. This is another area where you may be able to save. Ask yourself if you can lower cable plans (or drop altogether), drop a gym membership and exercise outside or in your home, or cancel your land line if you have a cell phone.
  4. Take on a side job. Consider getting a temporary gig. Rent a home or room through Airbnb, drive for Uber or Lyft, walk dogs, or house sit; these all give you great flexibility while earning extra cash!
  5. Brown bag it. What you save by cooking compared to the cost of dining out has been increasing. Try to cook more dinners at home, bring your lunch to work, and cut back on the lattes.

Selecting just one of these, and starting today, can be a game changer for your holiday season. Other points to consider include: creating a budget so you know exactly how much you can spend, spreading out purchases over several months instead of one big blow to your bank account, and establishing realistic expectations with everyone you have to buy for. Happy Holidays!

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