There are just 8 weeks till Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and its a good time to come up with a holiday savings plan. Many expenses come with the holiday season such as gifts, parties, decorations, food and travel costs. If you start saving now, you will have more money to enjoy during the holiday season and not dread the new year when credit card statements roll in. Instead, you will be able to look at your bank account without fear of a low balance.
Each week from now until the holiday season, set aside an amount of money from your pay check that will be dedicated to your holiday budget. Put this money in either a new savings account or in an account or place where you know that you will not be tempted to spend this money. If you set aside $50.00 per week toward your holiday expenses, when Black Friday rolls around you will have $400.00 in your holiday budget account.
Even if you cannot set aside a certain dollar amount per week toward your holiday budget, you can save money by dining out less. Instead of going out to purchase coffee, lunch or dinner a few times a week, eat in, bring lunch to work and your own coffee and those savings can add up quickly and work into your holiday budget. Along with dining out less, is limiting your grocery shopping. Most people go to the grocery store weekly or bi weekly, but often do not go to the grocery store with meals planned out in mind. If you plan out your meals, you will limit your spending by not purchasing unnecessary items. Also, you can limit your grocery shopping by using the food thats already in your pantry or freezer. If you find items in your pantry and freezer but are unsure what to cook for a meal, log on to foodnetwork.com and type in the ingredients you have and you will be surprised at the delicious meals you will come up with and the savings that will come from consuming food you already have purchased.
Another tip to try in order to save money for the holidays is to only carry cash on you for the next 8 weeks. By not bringing your credit or debit card out, and only cash you only purchase what you intended to at the store. You will not be as tempted to splurge and make implosive purchases at stores, since you only have a limited money on you. Also, people tend to not think of handing over their credit card or debit card as real money coming out of their bank accounts. When you are spending cash, you can physically see and can better mentally process the actual dollar amount you are spending, which will lead you to skip out on the extra purchases. Of course,it might be good to keep a credit or debit card hidden in your wallet or purse for an emergency situation.
Another way to ensure that you are saving for the holiday season is by using a money managing website. Mint.com is a free way to view all of your financial activity online and you can categorize your transactions, set budgets and achieve savings goals. Mint.com can link all of your bank accounts such as checking and savings as well as your credit card activity. The site allows you to set financial goals and helps you to keep on track with them. The site will send you an email or text alert if you have gone over your budget in a certain area. The site will visually create pie charts and or bar graphs that show you how much you spend and where you spend it. It can also develop these charts to show you how close you are to achieving your savings goal. By utilizing all of some of these tips, you can achieve your holiday savings goals. By saving early, you will be able to spend for the holidays without the fear of checking your bank statement or credit card statement come the new year. You will be able to start 2012 on a financially positive note.
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