You might remember your parents (or grandparents) depositing money into a Christmas Club account during your childhood. It was common to make use of these accounts to save money for the holidays. Saving just $5 – $10 a week could add up to a much nicer Christmas.
Maybe your parents (or grandparents) were on to something.
What are Christmas Club Accounts
The idea behind this type of account is to set a budget for Christmas and break up the amounts over weekly or biweekly deposits. Often deposits are automatically deducted from your paycheck. However, you can also make deposits directly as well.
While there isn’t an actual “club,” these accounts are short-term savings accounts that can be created with a minimal deposit. The money deposited into the account usually can’t be accessed before a certain date (most commonly November 1st). Though the account earns interest, the biggest benefit for most users is protecting your money from themselves. You’ll be unable to spend it before the holiday season!
You’re much more likely to find these accounts available at credit unions, although a few banks still offer them. But, the big question is: Are they the best way to save money for Christmas?
So what can you do if you don’t want to open an actual Christmas Club Account?
Check out some other options for Christmas savings:
Money market account. These accounts tend to pay higher interest rates than checking or savings accounts. You are limited to a few withdrawals each month, but that’s okay. You’re saving for the holidays after all.
Savings account. If you can trust yourself, simply set up a savings account dedicated to your holiday spending needs. Many people won’t be able to resist the temptation to dip into the funds the first time a minor financial emergency occurs. Only you know whether or not you can be trusted!
Certificates of deposit (CDs). CDs provide a better rate of return than Christmas accounts, but it’s necessary to have a lump sum available. Just be certain that the maturity date is before you need to start your shopping. It’s possible to purchase short-term CDs throughout the year, and you’ll still be ready for the holidays.
I would say CDs are not the top choice, as you can miss the withdrawal window and not receive the funds you need for Christmas if you are not careful!
Short-term bonds and Treasury bills. The interest rate on Treasury bills is usually extremely low, but as close to guaranteed as you can get. Bonds have variable maturity dates. However, there’s sure to be something that will work for your situation.
Many people are concerned about interest rates when saving for the holidays, but consider the rates at this time. CDs, money market accounts, and savings accounts are all paying 2.5% or less. If you invest $1,000 immediately after Christmas, that’s only $25 worth of interest after a full year.
A 12-month Treasury bill is only paying around 4% right now. But, you would have to plan for the following Christmas for that to work. So looking at the shorter term T-bills rates are in the 2% range. A year’s worth of interest would be $20.00.
Non-Savings Account Options
A few of the larger retailers still support layaway. You can start shopping in January and make payments on your schedule until the item has been paid in full. Be sure to understand the rules fully. They can vary dramatically between stores.
- Some stores charge a service fee.
- Sometimes, you’ll be required to meet certain deadlines, such as having to pay 60% of the price within 60 days and the full balance within 90 days.
- There can be cancellation fees. These can apply whether you canceled or the store canceled due to your failure to meet the agreement’s requirements.
Using the Buy Now Pay Later Companies. These are all the rage lately. I do not recommend that you use these apps. Especially if you do not have 2X the funds to pay off the purchases made with these companies. It is a dangerous game and can get you into debt quickly if you are not able to be VERY disciplined.
Companies that fall into the BNPL category include Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay. PayPal, Sezzle, and Splitit, to name a few.
What is the Best Christmas Club Account Choice?
Avoid worrying about the interest rate and choose the method that is most likely to work for you. If you don’t have a nice lump sum to invest, CDs and bonds probably aren’t an option. If you know you’ll dip into the account, a money market account won’t be effective. Match your financial situation and your temperament to your savings method.
Christmas club accounts are a great solution if you have limited funds to get started and you need to keep the money isolated from yourself. Many of us have a difficult time not spending our savings. Christmas club accounts just might be your perfect answer.
Remember, it is much easier to save in small bite sizes over a long period versus making large amounts in a short period. You are more likely to succeed with the long game! The bonus is not having huge credit card bills you cannot pay in January or going into debt. Christmas Club accounts might just be what your family needs!
Give your family a very Happy Holiday without all the financial stress!
Need Help Managing the Holidays?
December can be a very stressful month. There is so much to do! Decorating, buying gifts, wrapping them, stockings, baking, cleaning, managing events, Christmas dinner, grocery shopping….. it can be so overwhelming!!
Enter the ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS PLANNER!!
With over 50 pages designed to make every stage of the holiday season stress-free, this planner is the tool you need to make this year’s holidays the best yet!
This planner is perfect for ANYONE who is looking to keep all their tasks and plans for the holiday season in order. Stay on top of Christmas this year! Jam-packed with solutions to help you manage your dinners, gift giving, decorations, memory making, movie watching, music listening, grocery shopping, budgeting…. And more!
WHAT IS INSIDE??
You get 54-Pages designed to help you manage the holiday season with less stress!
- 2022 / 2022 Annual At A Glance Calendars
- November & December Monthly Calendar Planner Pages
- Weekly and Daily Planner Pages
- Today’s Schedule – hourly breakdown
- To-DoDo List and Notes Pages
- Holiday Budget Overview Worksheet
- Christmas Savings Tracker
- Christmas Gift Ideas Brainstorm Sheet
- Online Shopping Tracker
- Stocking Stuffer Brainstorm Sheet
- Wish List
- Donations List Tracker
- Address Book Sheet
- Christmas Card List Sheet
- Food Ideas Brainstorm Sheets – covers Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks
- Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Menu Planners
- Favorite Recipe Sheet
- Grocery List Pages
- Dinner Guest List Tracker
- Potluck List Keeper
- Baking Lists Sheets
- Christmas Baking Timeline Keeper
- Christmas Decorating Ideas Brainstorm Pages
- Christmas Decoration Planner
- Christmas Bucket List Page
- Holiday Song Playlist / Christmas Movies To Watch
- Christmas Traditions Planner
- 30 Days Of Gratitude Worksheets
- Celebrate Christmas Rehash – Memory Maker
- 5 Christmas Carols
The best part is that you can TYPE in the PDF if you prefer not to print it out!