[I]n reality, you should have a savings plan all year long for the holiday season. However, it’s never too late to start. Whether you buy gifts for a lot of people, host dinners or just go out and enjoy all of the holiday activities, it usually costs a lot of money during this time of year.
Know How Much You Can Save
If you’re just starting out to save money for the holidays, you’re going to have to do it backwards. Early in the year you can calculate how much you need and then save a percentage each pay period. Now you have limited time, so you have to begin by calculating how much you can save out of each paycheck. That is the amount you will have to work with for your holiday expenses.
What If It’s Not Enough?
When you see how much you can realistically save without changing anything, you may be disappointed. There’s just much left over after paying your bills, and that amount won’t go very far. What you will have to do is figure out ways to increase your savings. You may want to sell items, get a second job or find ways to cut back on your spending. For instance, you can make gifts instead of buying them.
You may even barter your services with someone else for things you need. Perhaps you can babysit if the other person will cater your dinner. Get creative when you don’t have a lot of funds. Instead of cooking an entire meal for your family, have everyone bring a dish to share.
Even if it’s only a few dollars, you should still plan to start saving for the upcoming holidays. It will teach you a good habit with a short timeframe that you can convert into long-term behavior. Just determine you won’t go into debt for the activities you have planned, so you can start out the next year on the right track.
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