Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Chalica, or another holiday that falls at the end of the year, you probably have to save up in order to pay for the food, gifts, and travel that comes with it. The various December holidays are many months away, so most of us are probably not thinking about saving or planning right now.
Picking out the perfect gifts is great, but waiting until the last minute can be exhausting in addition to being more expensive. Holiday spending often gets out of hand and adds up quickly; budgets fly out the window in the midst of holiday cheer. Your best bet in order to have enough money saved is to start saving right now. Yes, now — in February. Just think of the cold weather as an easy reminder of what it will feel like outside when next December comes. Here is a list of ways you can prepare for the holiday season starting right now.
1. Create a Budget
It can be tricky to plan your holiday budget nine or ten months ahead, but if you can set the time aside, you will be glad you did. Even if you don’t know how much you will spend, you can make an educated guess based on how much you spent last year. Once you come up with a goal budget, you will know how much you need to spend each month.
If you need help starting, consider who you will be buying for. Many people buy presents for family members, teachers, coworkers or bosses, some friends, and so on. Others tip people who perform regular services for them (mail carriers, babysitters, etc.) Once you know who you want to buy for, you can determine how much you want to spend on each person. If you keep track on a chart, you can update your spending once you purchase the actual gifts. You can also check out this Holiday Budget Calendar to determine how much of your income you can safely use toward holiday gifts.