- Fun Money Habits
How to save money this Christmas
I am sure you don’t want to have a stressful Christmas nor start the new year with debt!
Let me show you how to save money this Christmas and stop feeling guilty!
According to Fortunly.com, 22% of Americans believe their Christmas spending will leave them in debt and more than 60% of Americans buy their gifts a week before Christmas.
Having a fun and simple strategy this holiday season will help you save a ton of money plus your sanity.
Here is how to have a stress-free and debt-free Christmas this year.
As the song says, “It is the most wonderful time of the year” but it can also be a real nightmare. Especially if you have a tight budget, you are not organised or you feel like everybody wants your money.
In 2019, Americans spend an average of $942 on Christmas gifts according to the World economic forum.
It is fair to say that we tend to overspend during the holiday season. It is so easy to do.
For example when shopping online, and just before I finish my purchase, a little pop up will say “you can also add these items for 25% off”.
Then, I am thinking, oh yes sure and I press “add to cart”. Has this ever happened to you too?
Without even realising it we are spending way over the budget we have in mind for each person and that is how so many of us get into debt.
The horrible thing though is that we were doing all of those purchases with a generous heart and good intent but ended up feeling so bad and guilty comes December 29th because we have overspent.
Therefore, we got to stop being sucked in all those selling tactics if we want to save some money this Christmas and start next year on the right foot.
So how can we do that?
Well, it is very simple, you need to plan ahead, spend wisely and shift your mindset.
Now for last-minute Christmas saving hacks click here.
1: FORWARD PLANNING
If you want to save money this Christmas, there are four golden rules.
Write a list
Set a budget
Track your expenses
Remember it is only one day of the year
We all know Christmas is coming so we should be proactive about it and start planning early. Ideally, you should have a budget idea in January so you can slowly save for it or at least do it 3 months in advance.
If you need to save $1000 comes Christmas day, for example, that is only $85 a month if you start in January.
Otherwise, you could start a 12-week money saving challenge comes September.
I found that I can get a good deal over Black Friday weekend so I want to have most of the cash available by that time.
If you want to enjoy Christmas without feeling guilty afterwards, you can only really do that when you have the money saved for that purpose in advance.
I personally don’t buy many presents. I would rather give people experiences instead (movie passes, dinner with us, a voucher for their next vacation...).
There are so many ways to give and not all need you to spend a lot of money.
2. SPEND WISELY
Each year, we do the same things. We buy gifts, a new tree, some decorations, nice food and we travel to family or overseas.
So when planning for Christmas, there are three questions to think about.
How will I free up or find the extra cash?
You can sell your old stuff on FB marketplace or Ebay or start a saving challenge as I mentioned above. You can cancel subscriptions, cable, or you can refinance a debt that may help you save more money. You could try to dine in more (September, October) so you can appreciate Thanksgiving dinner even more.
Who do I need to buy for?
This is where you write your list of everybody you feel you need to buy something for.
Side note: if you buy a gift as a business expense thinking it will help you with tax reduction, remember you can’t claim the full amount so check with your accountant about that before going crazy on gifts.
Where and how do I find the best price?
This is my favourite part, bargain hunting. I wrote a blog post with my best 5 tips to save money this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Click here to check it out.
One thing I will remind you is that if you shop online, you need to go through the Cashback sites. They are free to join and they give you money for shopping online (I use Rakuten).
You can join RAKUTEN today and you will get a cashback gift for your first purchase.
If you don’t have it, JOIN HERE.
It’s free money!
Answering those three questions will help you spend wisely.
Then, here are the five main categories to budget for:
Travel (are you going overseas or visiting family?)
Food (what will be your Christmas menu?)
Decorations (do you need to replace broken pieces or want something new?)
Gifts (do you need to buy something for everyone?)
Mix (cards, postages, etc.)
Check on my next blog on how to Budget for Christmas here.
I go into details on how to budget for a debt-free Christmas and get some extra cash.
I don’t have kids myself but of course, we buy gifts for the young kids in the family because it is fun for them.
But we don’t go overboard as they already have a lot of toys and often lose interest the following week.
That is not money well spent. Hence, why I love experiences and often the kids will say they don’t want a Christmas present, but time with us. That’s so sweet.
I remember one year they didn’t want gifts and together we decided to send money to Africa to buy chicken so we could help a whole family that way.
Get this Christmas printable if you want to write your list, set your budget and track your expenses.
Let’s start planning!
3: SHIFT YOUR MINDSET
Christmas is no longer what it is supposed to be. Christmas wasn’t about the presents and having or giving the best gifts.
Christmas is about spending time together as a family and celebrating the birth of baby Jesus.
When you shift your mindset from “I must buy Christmas presents” to “I am looking forward to spending some quality time with my family”, I promise your Christmas will never be the same again.
You will save a lot of money because you will break the bad cycle of consumerism.
Plus, you will reconnect with people on a totally different level.
If you want things to change, be the change you want to see in this world.
Remember it is only one day of the year, I challenge you to start a new fun money habit in your house this Christmas.
This year you can have an amazing Christmas while saving money.
Christmas is all about family not presents. And food!, lol.
You just need to get organised and don’t wait until the last minute to buy and do everything.
I found that buying presents on Black Friday or Cyber Monday helps me stay on budget and find a good deal. Click here to read about my 5 best-saving money tips and start stacking some savings.
As we have seen above, there are five main categories that can really derail your finances and put you into debt: Travel, food, decorations, gifts, and mix.
When I create my spending plan for the following year on December 29th, I include an estimate of what I need to save for the next Christmas based on what I have just spent.
I put money aside automatically in a separate savings account or depending on the amount I need I may start saving at least 4 to 3 months beforehand.
It always saves my sanity and I usually have more cash saved than I need. That is awesome because the amount I haven’t used goes straight toward my new year's money goals.
Maybe it is time for you to create a new habit too!
If you want to save money this Christmas, It is so important to plan ahead, spend wisely and shift your mindset.
So don’t wait, download the free printable and start saving this Christmas season.
Remember, Christmas is only one day and you don’t have to go broke to show your family that you love them.
PS: do you even know what their love languages are?
Having a gift may miss the mark completely!