One of the best decisions I ever made to survive Christmas debt free was to start budgeting for it at the beginning of the year. When I was a kid, my Mom had a Christmas Savings Club account at her Bank. In this day and age, that specific banking product does not really exist. Instead, I just have a separate money market account, also called an MMA, for it and it is captioned: Christmas Savings Club or Holiday Savings Club.
If you did not budget for the Christmas that just past, take a look at what you spent. Was it more than what you wanted to spend? Was it a lot more than you wanted to spend? Did you have any idea how you spent that much money?!? Then you are in the right place.
With these free printable savings plans your family budget will thank you. Read on and get yourself set for Christmas early this year and you will be sitting pretty at the end of it!
Why Have a Christmas Budget and Savings Plan?
Budgeting ahead of time makes buying for Christmas easier during the year. I make a plan for what I plan to spend each Christmas and ideas on what I will be buying. With a flexible plan in place and because I start saving early, I can buy when I see a good deal and not worry about covering it out of my normal budget. That is because I already have a separate sum saved towards purchase of Christmas items.
I start my Christmas / Holiday savings club at the end of January. If you start around that time you will have about 48 weeks to save. That makes it so simple to budget only about $21/week. If you follow this plan you will have $1,000 saved by years end.
Depending on the number of people in your family, the type of holiday dinners you may host and the number of other people in your life that you will need to purchase a gift, you may need to increase the amount saved. The key is starting early so it is not so painful!
Even if you will not spend $1,000 on Christmas (I know I don’t). I still recommend shooting for that number at a minimum. Even if you do not make it you can use it for other holiday related expenses!
For example, I use extra money to cover the cost of:
- extra food
- party supplies
- gifts for teachers, neighbors, coworkers
- Plus you can use if for other holidays that fall at the end of the year: Think Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve.
If starting in January doesn’t work for you, or you are reading this later in the year, that is OK. I have two other plans. One that starts in June and runs for 29 weeks and one that is for the late starters, starting in September and runs for 16 weeks. While these plans require you to save at a higher dollar amount, I recommend saving whatever you can, so that you do not end up in debt at the end of the Holiday season. That is not the way to start off the new year.
Ways to Save Money to Cover Holiday Spending
While having an amount to save, a savings goal so to speak, is great, you also need to have a way to save that amount. That is where is can get tricky for many people. One reason having time on your side is such a great thing is that you can make simple changes throughout the year to save your holiday funds.
Make small changes to your budget:
- Pack your lunch rather than buying and put those savings into your holiday savings plan if you do this once a week you can save about $8/week or $384 over 48 weeks
- Make coffee at home instead of buying it. If you buy a coffee / latte from McDonalds that would be $2.00/day. So if you cut that out for 5 days, that is $10/week or $400 over 48 weeks
- Only shop sales and use rebate apps to purchase groceries. Any funds received from the apps put into your holiday savings account. The amount saved varies, but I would estimate about $20/month or about $240 over 48 weeks. Using apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, Savings Star and Krazy Koupon Ladies will help you yield results. quickly!
- batch cook / meal prep your dinners or breakfasts. Buying in bulk can save money and time!
- negotiate your bills, or shop around for new insurance, cable / internet, or cell phone carries. these changes can yield huge results that can help you with saving more than just for the holidays
- start a side hustle. I actually use Swagbucks to cover most of my Christmas costs. I buy discounted gift cards with my swagbucks and give those on my lists gift cards or use them to purchase gifts from Target, Walmart, or Amazon.
These simple changes will more than cover the costs of your holiday season. So with the free printable holiday savings plan and these tips you are sure to make this years Christmas debt free!
Christmas Savings Plan Club Worksheets
Christmas Saving Club worksheet – 48 week plan
Christmas Saving Club worksheet – 29 week plan
Christmas Saving Club worksheet – 16 week plan
Then, if you have anything left over, you can do one of two things. Either divert it to another savings account you have. Or keep if for next year’s Christmas Savings Club. I take half of what is left and place it into my car or home savings accounts and leave the rest for the Christmas Savings Club. It could not be easier! Think of how nice it would be to have the funds already when you buy the item!
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Looking for ideas to help you get to that $1,000 mark? Check out my post on how to save $1,000 for Christmas now.
Or if you are thinking about completing a side hustle to help cover the annual cost of Christmas, check out how I make over $300 in Gift Cards every year using Swagbucks.