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The Gift of Time: Start Saving for Next Year’s Holidays!

Posted by : Premraj | Posted on : Wednesday, December 9, 2009

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Debbie Dragon is a freelance writer providing articles for billeater.com, a site that combines articles about saving money with real tools, like the ability to compare insurance quotes.

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In these challenging economic times, when the holiday season rolls around, many people find themselves overwhelmed financially when trying to buy gifts for friends and loved ones, throw holiday parties, and decorate their homes for the season. Many turn to credit cards, and experience the dreaded “holiday hangover” when their bloated credit card statements arrive in January. How can this be avoided? Your best plan of action is just that—a plan. Here are some tips for saving money now for next year’s holiday season.

Set your budget

This year, keep track of how much money you are spending on presents for family and friends, entertaining and decorations. This will give you a general idea of what you’d need to put aside for next year’s festivities (although it might be wise to “pad” your budget with an extra $100 or so, to account for unexpected expenses). Then, figure out how much money you would need to save each month in order to have the necessary funds available by the time next year’s holidays begin. Once you have that magic number, there are a number of ways you can reach this goal.

Find ways to save

When trying to reach a financial goal, every little bit helps. Look at your where your money is going, and think of ways to “trim the fat” from what you’re spending… that daily $4 latte, although tasty, could equal $120 per month towards your holiday budget. Cutting coupons, buying in bulk, there are so many ways to put a little more aside every month while still enjoying the same lifestyle. Sites like www.budgetpulse.com and www.wisebread.com are very helpful in terms of helping you mapping out every penny you spend, and living well on a smaller budget.

Open a holiday account

Many banks and lending institutions offer holiday savings accounts, which can often be opened with as little as $5! Contact your bank to see if this option is available to you, or just open a separate savings account that you’ve set aside for holiday expenses. You can deposit money into this account, or better yet, have the money debited automatically (soon enough, you won’t even notice this automatic withdrawal—even small amounts add up if consistently deposited over time.

Discipline, discipline, discipline

It’s hard sometimes, to stick to your guns about saving, when your goal seems so far away. But the sooner you start saving, the more money you will have to enjoy next year’s holiday season—without the dreaded credit card debt waiting for you in January. That might be the best gift of all!

How are you trying to save?

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