Save Money on Christmas — For Next Year

by Miranda Marquit · 6 comments

Chances are, you are probably trying to get your Christmas list together for the year. The last thing you are considering is what you will do for Christmas next year. But, if you want to reduce the financial stresses that can come with the holidays, planning now is a good way to get ready for next year. Here are some things to do this year as you get ready for the holidays, and consider preparing for next year:

Figure Out What You Already Have

As you prepare to wrap presents, go through what you already have in terms of wrapping paper, bows, ribbon and even tape. Use what you have already, and make a list of what you might need next time around. Then, wait until after Christmas to head to the store and stock up on what you will need.

This tactic also works for Christmas decorations and ornaments. If you have too many Christmas ornaments, you can sell or donate them (get a receipt for their market value and deduct it on your taxes) to make room for what you find during the after Christmas sales. We haven’t had to buy new wrapping paper, Christmas cards or decorations for about two years because we know what we have after buying in bulk at a massive after Christmas sale during the recession.

Begin Budgeting in January for Christmas

As you buy Christmas presents, and as you purchase food and other requirements for holiday entertaining, keep track of what you spend. This will help you determine what your normal costs are likely to be. Take that amount, and add 5%, then divide by 10. If you spend $800 this year, you add $40 (5% of $800) and then divide the $840 by 10 to get $84.

Each month, you put that amount into a high yield savings account. By the end of October, you will save enough for your Christmas spending next year. This can really take the financial stress out of the holidays, since you will have the money you usually spend already in hand.

Use Credit Card Spending to Reduce Christmas Costs

You can plan to use credit card spending to help you pay for Christmas next year. Consider your budget. Put your purchases, bills and other items on your credit card. As long as you are living within your budget, you can pay off the credit card balance each month, avoiding interest while your rewards add up. Carefully consider a rewards program that offers cash back or gift cards. When you get cash back, you can put the money into your high yield Christmas fund account. If you get gift cards back, try to choose stores where you are likely to get gifts.

As with many things related to personal finance, proper planning can lead to big savings. Get ready now to start a new holiday tradition: Year-round Christmas planning to save money.

This post was featured in Best of Credit Cards and Saving Money.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Juri Alien November 23, 2010 at 6:36 am

Christmas is my favorite holiday. But also one of the most expensive one: buy presents, food for a family party and so on. That’s why I’m always looking for ways to save money.

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Dan November 23, 2010 at 11:08 am

Great post. My mother and mother-in-law spoil our kids silly this time of year. It’s gotten to a point where we hold back gifts because they have so much. This post has me thinking that we should start planning early and set aside money year round for gifts.

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Elton John November 23, 2010 at 11:47 am

Oh great, you brought out this topic. I guess I can share what I do with regards to saving some starting January of next for the next holiday season. What I do is to have this Piggy bank for coins and small bills. I drop off my coins and small bills daily at my piggy bank starting January and open it by December. Last year, I had saved a considerable amount and used it to buy presents for my kids and nephews plus the firecracker expense for New Year’s eve. Hope I have enough this year when I open it again.

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Shannon November 24, 2010 at 10:34 am

Another way to save for those who are paid bi-weekly. We pay our bills twice a month: once mid-month and once at the end of the month. In the months we get an extra paycheck (happens twice a year), we put that money away (after deducting our weekly expenses for food and the like). That money is used to pay for a vacation and Christmas.

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Mark November 24, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I agree with all of these tips. It just makes the holiday season easier when you don’t have to scrounge up money at the last minute and scurry to the mall on Christmas Eve.

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Brad Pitt November 26, 2010 at 4:34 pm

For me you don’t need to control yourself for buying Christmas present and everything but you should always know what are important to buy than the luxuries ones. I should better also save for the new year and for the upcoming summer.

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