Did you know that we are more than halfway through this year already? I know it is crazy how time flies. You are probably enjoying the weather and some of the cooler temps and not in the least bit thinking about the holiday season.
As each month goes by we get closer and closer to Christmas. Don’t let the holidays be a stressful time for you and your family. By financially preparing yourself prior to the holiday rush you will be equipped to deal with the festivities and keep your holiday cheer.
I know that gift-giving, holiday parties, and flights to see loved ones can really stress a person’s budget. If you add in extras like homemade treats, wrapping paper, cards, and decorations you can easily see why so many people end up drowning in debt on Jan 1.
As reported by Investopedia the average US family spent $935.58 on holiday gifts in 2016. In 2017, it went up by $30 to an average of $967.13 That is a whole lot of money just in gift giving! With people spending this much It is no wonder how people end up starting the new year off in bad shape.
Do Things Differently
This year why not do things differently? By using this 12-week Christmas savings plan you can guarantee yourself a joyous start to the new year.
This Christmas savings challenge will help you to save $1000 in 12 weeks. For many $1000 is A LOT of money. The reason I chose $1000 is that that is the average amount people spend on gift gifting during the holiday season.
I challenge you to spend less. I challenge you to take the $1000 and cut in half. Do you realize that by deviating from the norm and not falling into the holiday spending craze you can put that money into your future?
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves I want you to take a moment and reflect on your finances. Have you been following a budget? If so great! If not, This is a great 8 step plan to get you started.
Now it’s time to start thinking beyond your budget and how you can ramp up your Christmas saving strategy. Nobody wants to start the new year with bills that follow them into January…February… or March.
Cut out unneeded expenses
When trying to budget and save for the holidays one of the quickest ways to do this is to cut out things that are not necessary. Here are some ideas of things that you can cut out.
- Fancy Coffees
- Spending money on cocktails and alcohol
- Pedicures and manicures
- Movie theatre
- Dining out
Make extra money
If you are feeling that you are still having difficulties trying to save enough money for the holidays it may be time to increase your income. By increasing your income you can make an extra $1000 by the time Christmas comes around.
Here are some of my favorite ways to make extra cash
1. Take Surveys For Cash
You can take surveys from the comfort of your own home while spending time with family. My two favorite sites to take surveys are Swagbucks and Harris Poll. It is completely free to sign up and By completing some quick surveys or watching videos, you can easily make enough points for a $25 gift card. I normally pay for the majority of my Christmas gifts with Swagbucks that I have accumulated over the year. It really takes the stress off the holidays.
If you join Swagbucks through my link you can earn a $10 welcome bonus to get you started.
2. Get paid for your skills
One way to make some quick cash for the holidays even when you have a full-time job is to use your existing skills.
Sign up with Fiverr and sell your IT, graphic design or administration services for some extra cash.
3. Get paid when you shop
One of the simplest ways to make money is to get paid for shopping. Make you sure to use apps like Checkout 51 when you go grocery shopping. These shopping apps will pay you a cash rebate for purchasing certain items (the list changes every week). You can easily make $20 a month just for doing your regular groceries.
Ebates is my absolute favorite company to use when I’m shopping online. It’s free money! With over 2,000 stores to choose from, you will definitely be able to make some extra money!
To begin earning with Ebates, follow some simple steps:
- Go to the Ebates website or open the app on your phone
- Select the store you want to shop from
- Buy whatever you were planning to buy as you normally would
- Get cash back! They literally give you up to 25% cash back on every purchase you make.
I make around $50 a month using these sites.
Here are some additional ideas to save you money when you are in a pinch
- Cook at home instead of eating out. We used to waste so much money going out to eat! Try a program like $5 Meal Plan to help you create simple, inexpensive meals at home. You’ll save MORE money on your groceries each month than the small amount you pay for their service.
- Switch your cell phone service to a low-cost, lesser-known carrier such as Republic Wireless. One of their unlimited monthly cell plans is only $15 per month!
Things We Recommend:
Personal Capital: Personal Capital is centered on helping you with your investing rather than your budgeting. You can track your net worth, cash flow, investments, retirement planning, and more.
Acorns: Acorns is a new investment app that lets people automatically invest spare change from debit and credit card purchases. Acorns connects to a debit or credit card to “round up” the spare change to the next dollar on all purchases.
Trim: Do Money Better With Trim, Your New ‘Personal Finance Assistant’ Trim is a personal finance assistant (not an app, they make sure to clarify) that helps you save money by analyzing your credit card transactions and getting rid of old, unused subscriptions