For those of you who may have forgotten, next Christmas is right around the corner. I see you through the computer screen rolling your eyes. But, now is the time to start planning on how you are going to pay for next year’s Christmas presents. Now is the time to start saving for Christmas 2011.
The Consequences Of Forgetting About Saving For Christmas 2011
Christmas is an expensive hit to our budgets. In fact, according to some estimates, the average American spends over $650 during the holiday seasons on buying gifts for their friends and family members. That also does not include the gifts that we spend on ourselves. Christmas is of course a big season for retailers. According to the National Retail Federation, preliminary 2010 holiday sales for both November and December rose 5.7% to $462 billion which was the largest holiday sales gain since 2004.
Why We Forget About Saving For Christmas
We forget about saving for Christmas because we do not properly budget for the cost of all the presents we give. We are a very generous group of people, but we often over extend ourselves during the holidays. We end up putting a majority of our Christmas gifts on our credit cards and then take months to pay the balance. Often our December purchases are not paid fully until the spring of the next year. Every year, we act like the holidays are a surprise, like we did not realize that Christmas is going to happen in December. We overextend ourselves and rack up huge credit card bills, but it does not have to be that way.
How You Can Start Saving For Christmas 2011
The answer is to start saving for Christmas 2011 right now! You should have a savings account nicknamed Christmas or holiday gifts. Banks should bring back the Christmas Club. Every year my mother would have $50 or so deposited directly into a Christmas Club savings account at our local bank. Then, at the end of the year, she had $600 plus interest to pay for gifts with cash. You don’t have to have your bank do the heavy lifting for you. You can set up your own account. Online banks such as ING Direct allow customers to set up as many savings accounts for different goals as they want. As little as $25 per paycheck will set you up for a debt free Christmas at the end of this year.
Saving for Christmas 2011 does not have to be hard. It can be painless as long as you do a little prior planning. Go back and look at how much you spent on gifts to your friends, family members, and yourself this past year. Then, divide that number by twelve and set up a savings account specifically set aside only for saving for Christmas 2011. You will enjoy giving presents this year if you pay for them with cash.
(photo credit: Shutterstock)
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