Christmas is the time for festivities, family, and snow. Are you prepared for the upcoming holiday and gift-giving season? If not, then read on to be inspired to save money for Christmas gifts right now.
It may seem that saving money is tedious and boring. And hard. And not for everyone. But the hardest part is to make the first step. After that small first step, the key to saving money is consistency.
Set reasonable saving goals
If your goal is to give your family and friends the best gifts ever, you need to know, how much you’ll be spending on that. Write a list of the Christmas gifts that you are planning to buy. Add an approximate amount of money that they may cost. This way you’ll get a guesstimate of how much money you need to save. And that is how you set a measurable goal.
But what is a reasonable goal? Could you save 200$ in just 3 months? Or 3000$? That depends on many different outside factors. There is a lot of speculation about what should be a reasonable savings rate. Ideally, you should already be saving for your retirement, and maybe some other goals, like a vacation.
Speaking from my experience, saving around 10% of income is pretty easy. When that percentage goes up, it may get more challenging. Or not – as there are a lot of tips about living frugally on the internet, and it is cool to live the minimalistic lifestyle.
And now, the saving part. Don’t do all these things at once, as it may discourage you. Start small, try out one thing. Then another. Then combine the money-saving ways that didn’t trouble you too much. Be consistent and create a daily habit to use some of the tips below.
Write a list when you go shopping
One of the ways how we spend more money than we initially plan is impulsive shopping. It’s when you go to the store after some bacon and eggs and come home with bananas, milk, chocolate, popcorn, chips, bacon, Nutella and no eggs. Shops have a way of enticing with incredible offers and tasty looking things, that we don’t really need.
So make a list of what you need before you go into a shop. And stick to it.
Pay yourself first
One of the easiest ways how to save money is to never get a chance to spend it in the first place. Don’t worry, it’s more simple than it sounds. Now it is easy to open a separate bank account, where you will be accumulating your savings. It is also easy to automatically send small amounts of money there. And the wonderful part? If you do it consistently, you will soon see an impressive amount of saved money.
Automated money saving could be started slowly and then increase over time. Or there could be small amounts saved every other day. The important thing is not to make a big impact on your daily activities at the beginning of saving so that you would not quit after a few auto-saving transactions.
Record and analyze your expenses
One of the ways of how to save money is spending less money. And to do that you need to understand, where your money goes right now. It is easy to pay for coffee on-the-go, then buy some clothes, pay random subscriptions to services and not even feel the flow of invisible, electronic money.
This is where the magic of technologies comes in. As everything around money is getting increasingly electronic, there are several good apps, that may help you to automatically track your spending. And when you get a beautiful dashboard saying that in the previous month you have spent an insane amount of money for a thing like the innocent everyday coffee, then you might get the moment of truth about where it is easy to cut the spending.
Of course, saving for Christmas or any other short-term goal may not get the big impact of decreased spending. Nevertheless, everything you buy should have some kind of price/performance evaluation. Because much too often the price is too high for the unimportant things.
Make extra money
There are many ideas online on how to make extra money. You could make some money online by filling surveys. Or start a blog. Or become a mystery shopper. Or apply for jobs like babysitting. There are a lot of options for increasing the amount of money that you receive if you have some extra time.
Is it possible, that you might not even need all of the money that you set as a saving goal? If you have a plan of what you will buy as a gift, then go and look for it right now. And on the next week. And on the Black Friday. The gift may get some serious sale during the time from now until Christmas.
Do you save money? Do you save for big goals or something short-term? Have you tried automatic saving tools?