It’s fall now, but the holidays will be here before you know it. If you don’t have a holiday fund yet, you should! Planning ahead makes the holidays easier to manage, especially if saving money is a challenge for you. These tips can help you start your holiday fund savings now, so you’ll be ready when it’s time to spend money on gifts.
First, Know Your Habits
Review your holiday spending from previous years. Ask yourself how much you spent on individuals you know – and then consider anyone new in your life that you might spend more on. Once you’ve reviewed your spending habits from previous years, set a goal for your spending for this year.
Be realistic with your holiday spending goals. Don’t set a low number only to exceed it when the time comes to buy gifts. If you have specific ideas in mind for each person that you’re buying for this holiday season, look up prices to make a rough estimate.
If you’re concerned that you’ve underestimated how much you’ll need, add 5% or 10% to your savings goal to give yourself a buffer. Your holiday fund savings should be based on your best estimate so you can save what you need to but not short yourself money you won’t need for gifts or celebrations.
Then, Figure Out How Much You Can Set Aside
Decide how much you can set aside given your income (every week, every month, etc). You may need to increase how much you’re working to meet your goals. Don’t let this detract from how you normally put aside savings – you still need money available for your emergency fund.
If this is the case, decide now how much more you need to work – and then add that time into your current work schedule. Hint: when you’re trying to determine how much you need to work to meet your goals, it helps to know when you plan to buy holiday gifts.
Finally, Consider Additional Forms of Income
Consider additional forms of income (extra gig work or part-time seasonal work, etc) to help build up your holiday fund faster. If you’re shopping for more gig work this holiday season, turn to a reputable source like Jobble to find that work. If you’re looking for seasonal part-time work, start looking now. Seasonal jobs can fill up fast, and you don’t want to miss an opportunity that could make your holiday season easier. Check with retail locations, warehouses, restaurants and more.
You can also look for other smaller ways to earn more. For example, you can earn a little extra every now and then through survey sites for passive income. Some of our favorite options are MyPoints, InboxDollars, Swagbucks, ySense and Zap Surveys.
Another option is to utilize rebates and savings options on your everyday expenses. For example, the indi for Jobblers card can help you earn money back from qualified purchases at thousands of participating merchants nationwide with the Mastercard® Easy Savings program. It’s also helpful to ensure your rebates are automatically applied to your account so you don’t need to spend a lot of time keeping receipts.
The Time to Start Your Holiday Fund Savings is Now
Good luck! The holidays are best when you’ve got spending money for your loved ones. Getting a head start now, you’ll be ready by the time your holiday season kicks into gear. When you do the work to figure out how much to save, make sure you keep that information handy so you can have an even easier time saving this time next year!
About the Author: Kathryn Elwell grew up in the Midwest. She has experience in management and human resources, and has been writing on these topics and more for 12 years.