Ok, you may not be able to be totally free of debt, but if you start now you can plan to have a holiday season in which you prevent FURTHER debt.
Start saving now! You can start a system that year after year allows you to have the cash on hand to pay for your holiday celebrations. The first year (this one for example) might be a little lean, but the other years you can compile your savings all year around! Here are some resources I like:
Clubbing: Ask your bank or credit union if they have a “Christmas Club” account. My agency pools money from voluntary participants in the office so we are not only saving together for the holiday spending, but also accruing interest. We get our savings amounts in a check in early November.
Set it and forget it: Use an online bank account like smartypig.com or ingdirect.com – you can set your saving to be debited from your checking account regularly so your savings can build automatically.
How do you decide how much to save?
What’s my goal amount? Think about the goal amount that you want for the holiday season and when you want the cash to be available.
How long do I have to reach it? Determine how many pay periods are between now and when you want the cash available and divide your goal amount by the number of pay periods.
Can I afford my goal? Return to your budget and see if you can afford this amount. If you can’t, you’ll have to make some adjustments. See if you can tighten your belt in other discretionary areas to beef up your holidays if it is worth it to you!
Ahhh – this works. Happy Holidays to Me!
If this year is a little lean, maybe you and your family can do something really special – like give your time at a food kitchen or charity toy store! It could be the best – and least expensive – holiday yet!
Now that you have learned this system with holiday spending, you can apply the same principles to achieving other savings goals. Think short term, mid-term and long term. The money will accumulate – even small amounts add up over time!