Summer is nearly over, and the holiday season is right around the corner.
If you're tired of the last-minute financial stress that often comes with the holidays, it's time to start planning and saving now so you're not scrambling this winter. Planning early almost always makes it easier to manage your holiday spending later.
Let's dive into five practical ways to get a head start on saving for the 2023 holiday season.
5 Ways To Start Saving for The 2023 Holiday Season
1. Use Goals To Keep Focused
The first step in any savings journey is to set clear and achievable goals.
Consider how much money you want to spend for the holidays this year, then make that amount of money your savings goal. Remember to add all your holiday-related expenses, from gifts to decorations to travel costs.
A concrete goal will give you a target to work towards, making it easier to stay motivated and focused.
2. Curb Unnecessary Spending
Now's the time to decide if your existing spending habits are making it tougher for you to achieve your goals.
Do you really need that fancy daily coffee from the cafe around the corner? And those subscription services you barely use—are they worth the monthly cost?
Cutting back on small, unnecessary expenses can free up a surprising amount of money you can redirect toward your holiday savings.
Instead of dining out every weekend, try cooking at home more often and putting that restaurant money straight into your savings account.
Small sacrifices now can lead to big rewards later.
3. Use a Budget Starting Today
I know…budgeting isn't fun. I get it. But hold on, before you groan and scroll away, hear me out.
Creating a budget is like giving yourself a financial roadmap. And it's not as difficult as you think once you get passed the initial setup.
List all your sources of income and then tally up your regular monthly expenses. Now, factor in your holiday savings goal from point 1 and divide it by the number of months left until December. This will give you a clear picture of how much you need to save each month to reach your goal. And the best part? You're in control. You can adjust your spending in other areas to ensure you hit that monthly savings target.
For instance, if you want to spend $1,500 this holiday season (the average) with five months left, here's the simple math: 1500 / 5 = 400. You must put $300 monthly aside to achieve your $1,500 spending goal.
4. Use The Power of Automation
Nothing makes managing your finances easier than automated tools. Best of all, most of these tools are available to everyone, regardless of how “rich” you are.
For instance, set up a separate savings account. Then, set up an automated bank transfer to move money from your primary checking account into your savings account. This is the money you'll use for the holidays.
Many banks offer this option, and it's an incredibly effective way to “set it and forget it.” You won't even miss the money as it quietly moves from your checking to your savings. It's like giving your future self a little gift every month.
5. Earn Extra Income
If the income from your regular job isn't enough, consider starting a side hustle or doing a little extra work on the side.
Thanks to the gig economy, there are numerous ways to earn extra cash on the side. Do you have a talent for crafting, writing, or graphic design? You could sell your creations online. Don't mind driving around town? Consider becoming a rideshare driver.
The options are endless, and the extra income you earn can be a fantastic boost to your holiday savings fund.
Extra Tip: Start a Homemade Gift Tradition
Gift-giving is one of the highlights of the holiday season, but it doesn't have to break the bank. Consider starting a homemade gift tradition.
My family started doing this a few years ago and it's working well to cut how much money we spend during the holidays.
Handmade gifts often carry more sentimental value than store-bought ones, and they can be a lot more budget-friendly. Whether you're a baking enthusiast, a knitting master, or a DIY pro, there's a homemade gift idea for you. Plus, crafting can be a fun and relaxing way to spend your time leading up to the holidays.
In conclusion, the 2023 holiday season might still be a few months away, but the time to start saving is now.
By setting clear goals, creating a budget, embracing automation, cutting back on unnecessary spending, and exploring additional income streams, you'll be well on your way to a stress-free and financially responsible holiday season.
Remember, a little planning and effort today can lead to a holiday season filled with joy and wonderful memories without the added burden of financial stress. Your future self will thank you for taking the reins and starting your savings journey early.
Steve Adcock quit his job after achieving financial independence at 35 and writes about the habits millionaires use to build wealth and get into the best shape of their lives. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch, and CNBC, Steve maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level up their lives, careers, and freedom. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at MillionaireHabits.us.