Holidays are just around the corner. But, unfortunately, while it is a time to be jolly and full of cheer, chances are you might already be panicking because you haven’t saved enough to start spending on holiday gifts for your near and dear ones.
If you plan to buy gifts for the holidays this year, we recommend starting as early as possible. However, if you haven’t had a chance to start saving yet this year, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with our 8-week saving plan to get you going just in time for the holiday season!
Create a holiday spending budget
- First, get a solid idea of your income and core living expenses (if you haven’t already) to estimate how much you can save per week.
- Create a list of family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors you’d like to spend money on their holiday presents.
- Set a price limit per person. This will help give you a reasonable estimate of how much you will need to start gift shopping. The price limit doesn’t need to be equal for everyone. For example, you can allocate $50 per person for people closest to you (siblings, parents, close friends), while for the rest, you can restrict the gift budget to $15 per person with a small token of appreciation.
- Pencil in the cost for other holiday-related expenses like travel, food, entertainment, etc. If you’re struggling to remember, you can refer to the previous year’s bank or credit card statements and bills to arrive at a rough figure.
- Sum up all the expenses, both wants, and needs. This is your holiday spending budget for 2021.
- Compare this with your original income versus weekly savings. Is it in the ballpark or way off?
Create a weekly saving plan
Now that you have a rough estimate of how much money you’ll need to save for holiday shopping, look for ways to cover the gaps. Don’t get intimidated by the dollar amount you will need to bring in or save up for. Eight weeks is a lot of time to offset the difference.
An easy trick is to break down the dollar amount you need to save for holidays into eight small amounts to be saved each of the eight weeks. For instance, if your holiday budget is $800, you will need to save an average of $100 per week to cover the difference over eight weeks. While $800 feels like a lot of money, $100 per week doesn’t sound as bad, right? Take this task off your to-do list by enrolling in paycheck Auto-Save after you add your direct deposit to your One account. You’ll be able to automatically save a certain percentage of your paycheck every time you get paid and earn 3.00% APY*!
If you’re still not confident about saving enough for the holidays, we have some foolproof ways to help you towards your savings goal!
1. Opt for side hustles to make extra money
If you love driving, you can join a ride-sharing app or a food delivery service to make some money on nights, off-hours, or weekends. You can also find part-time gigs on online marketplaces for freelancers to make some quick money on the side without leaving your regular job.
2. Open a high yield checking with industry-leading savings rates
This can help you save for holiday expenses and create a visual budget to keep you on track. And most importantly, use card Auto-Save when spending with the debit card to help you automatically save at 3.00% APY* while spending on holiday presents. A little every time you spend on essentials can help you save up more for the holiday season without thinking about it.
3. Sign up for price matching and deal apps
Find out the lowest and best price for items part of your gift list. Also, make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. This will automatically help you save more on your pre-set holiday gifting wishlist.
4. Cut down on unnecessary expenses
You don’t necessarily need to stop eating out altogether or deprive yourself of some much-needed relaxation. Still, it would help you automatically save more money for holiday shopping if you could swap in homemade coffee for a few months or pack your lunch from time to time instead of eating out.
5. Group gift when possible
Sometimes buying individual gifts for everyone on the list becomes difficult due to budget constraints. While we understand you don’t want to leave out anyone from the list, you could sometimes combine gifts for an entire group of people. You can, for instance, give a lovely gift basket to your close cousin’s family. This can help cover everyone under the same roof; your aunt, uncle, and your cousins, and you’ll automatically save some much-needed dollars for the rest of your holiday list.
6. Host a Secret Santa
Gift exchanges have become quite popular over the years as they are a great way to spend less on holiday gifts. Not only are they economical for everyone involved, but they’re also super fun! Instead of each person spending on gifts for every other group member, you can all agree to a round-robin gift exchange, more popularly known as Secret Santa. Since everyone in the group ends up with gifts from their ‘Secret Santa,’ no one feels left out, and you get to cross more people off your holiday gift list without offending their feelings or breaking your budget.
7. Make your gifts
Another way to save on holiday spending is to give DIY gifts to people on your list. There are tons of inspiring blogs that feature inexpensive homemade holiday gifts! You can also help keep costs down by getting extra creative with a holiday-themed photoshoot of a friend or family member’s furry, scaly, or fuzzy friend. Easily print out the picture(s) and pop in a frame for their desk at work or at home.
8. The gift of time and talent
Gifts can be a way of showing people how much you care for them and value them in your life. Always remember the ‘4 gift rule’ while shopping for presents. Choose gifts based on what they want, need, wear, or read, and people will appreciate you for it (and their gift).
Sharing experiences, helping each other out, or just spending quality time together during holidays can bring you closer than just exchanging physical items. For example, pet sitting your friend’s dog, snowblow an elderly uncle’s driveway or cooking breakfast for your parents. Small, thoughtful gestures such as these go a long way in brightening up people’s lives after the holiday sparkle has dulled, all while keeping your holiday budget within limits.
Holidays are more about sharing memories than about saving money or exchanging gifts. So prioritize creating joyful memories with your family and friends while applying these tips to save money automatically this holiday season.
Organize your money, simplify your life. Make real progress.