We’ve all seen the catchy way to advertise for a department store “Christmas in July” sale as a way to get you shopping for the holiday season 5 months in advance. But what if, instead of shopping early, you gave yourself 5 extra months to save for the holidays?
Think about your last holiday season. Was everything paid for in cash? The extra groceries for big family/friend dinners, the gifts for everyone from teachers to your spouse and children? Or was there an after-holiday debt hangover you had to deal with in January (along with your post-holiday diet!)? Or worse, did you just finish paying off the 2015 holiday season in June 2016?
Try these tips below and maybe this year by January, you’ll just have to walk off a few extra holiday-treats pounds!
- Make a list of what you bought last year. Be totally and brutally honest with yourself and with your spouse, if you have one. Rack your minds, pull up bank and credit card statements – what were all the extra expenses for the holidays?
- Track all that spending. Put a price next to each item, and don’t forget to add the costs of shipping to your family and friends. As military families, we know that shipping cost can creep into the budget as an afterthought.
- Divide that number by eight. As in the 8 pay periods before Thanksgiving, when, let’s face it, that is when the spending begins!
- Set up an auto transfer to a savings account. Save that money before you can spend it. You may have to trim back a little over the next 8 pay periods – but think of how much better you might enjoy your holidays this year?
Happy Christmas in July and may you have no post-holiday debt in 2017!