First off Christmas comes around every single year. It's not a surprise nor an emergency so why ignore it until the month of December and then it's panic time? Or worse still, pay for it all on credit cards and then spend the first three months of next year(or longer!!)paying it off.
Develop some tricks or strategies that help you cope with all that cash leaving your wallet at the Holidays. Because you KNOW it is going to happen so don't pretend it won't.
Find little ways to soften that blow to your cash reserves in December by making yourself save for Christmas all year long.
* Start a Christmas club.
* Join one of those online sites where you do mindless time wasters to earn points you can cash in for gift cards. If you have time on your hands and you're online anyway, so why not if you can stand it.
* Put X$ out of every paycheck aside into an account or a jar or wherever you won't touch it until it's time to buy Holiday frippery/gifts/foods. Same idea as paying yourself first....put something away for yourself, then fund your Christmas kitty before spending down your monthly income.
* If you earn a gift card for buying/doing something(buying items at Target/transferring a prescription/etc.)put those away to use at the Holidays.
* Stop yourself from indulging in some weekly/monthly "want" once a week/month and put the cash you would have spent into a Xmas fund. (ie-1 less coffee or treat out per week, 1 less meal out per month, 1 less magazine/toy/shoe/purse per month, etc.)
* Direct all your accumulated pocket change into a coffee can to cash in for Holiday spending.
* If you have a rewards credit card, wait until the Holidays and cash in your points toward cash rebates, gift items and/or gift cards.
* When you 'save' by using coupons/sales at the grocery/drug stores, actually take that amount 'saved' in dollars and stuff it into an envelope earmarked to spend at Christmas.
There are so many painless money tricks you can play all year that allow you to hoard a little pile of cash/gifts away for the Holidays. Just tuck it away as you go through the year and then haul it out in November/December when you are ready to start dealing with how to dole it all out.
One trick is to search out/send away for freebies that you can use for gifts. I am by no means a "dedicated Freebie searcher outer". I see an offer for something in passing or get a coupon at the store to try something new for free, sure, I'll exert the little effort required to get it. Even not trying very hard it's possible to accumulate a decent pile of free stuff.
Here are the items I've gotten for free in the last few months. If you recall I am putting freebies, when appropriate, away for Christmas gifting.
Besides the $70 in free gift cards at Target for doing Deals and the Musselman's Promo, I cashed in credit card points earlier this Summer for more gift cards. $350 in gift cards were procured with $150 of them being earmarked for Christmas gifts.(The other $200 procured was for Lowe's cards for home maintenance supplies.)
World Market sent me a $10 off any purchase of $10 or more coupon last month. Though we don't have a World Market here locally(and I wouldn't redeem this online and pay postage on having items shipped to me), luckily the coupon arrived right before we went to the family reunion in Virginia.
There is a World Market near my son's apartment in Fredericksburg so I was able to go get $10 in free stuff....yay me!
I got more than these two items(jars of olives)but these are the items gotten for free that went into the Xmas stash-a canister of waffle mix and single use bottles of hot sauce.
Of course, Hubs bought beer at World Market so that trip actually cost me money! lolz
I also got that free protein bar this Summer at Weis and a large pack of Puffs tissues.
Going into the third quarter of 2016 here are all the freebies I have in my Christmas Stash to date......
hot sauce-World Market
waffle mix-World Market
2 x Axe gift sets-Rite-Aid
Axe deodorant-Walmart full sized sample
2 x large bottles Suave shampoo-Rite-Aid
3 x Vaseline cocoa butter lotion-Rite-Aid
2 x Andes peppermint mints-Rite-Aid
bar of goat soap-Price Chopper
Puffs tissue pack-Weis
12 packs of gum-Weis
7 lip balms-Rite-Aid
6 packs of mints-Rite-Aid
4 sets of ear buds-Rite-Aid
$10 Best Buy gift card-Musselman's promo
$50 Barnes & Noble gift card-c/c points
$60 Target gift cards(4 x $10, 4 x $5)-Target promos
2 x $50 Target gift cards-c/c points
In cash assets I have-
Sealed Pot/rolled coins stash of $80
SavingStar rebates of $90.77
Ibotta rebates of $5.50(can't cash out until it hits $20)
Checkout 51 rebates of $29.35
Items Sold on FB Tag Sale-$93
Rite-Aid Cash-$42(This was cash returned to me for coupons that were forgotten or didn't deduct during a transaction.)
I usually throw the SavingStar rebates into my food spending budget to offset that yearly total(since the rebates are due to food/toiletries I bought during the year).
This will be the first year I've gotten cash back for Checkout 51 so that's another bit of cash to throw at the food spending as well.
Rolled coins/sealed pot get put with the Christmas funds.
But I am unsure where to direct the cash from the Facebook local sales-into Xmas monies or put toward Food Budget? What do you think I should do with this cash?
I am also not sure what to do with the Rite-Aid cash I received when transactions were messed up. I have been holding that in my wallet to use at Rite-Aid if I ever needed it/ran out of Plenti points but it doesn't seem like that will ever happen. lolz
Should I throw that $42 into the Xmas fund or use it to offset the Food spending?
What say you on that one?
Cash saved for Xmas.....$80.00
Gift Cards saved for Xmas....$220.00
List of freebie items for Xmas
Cash saved for Food Budget......$120.12
Weis gift cards for Food Budget.....$25.00* a free $20 gc for Rx transfer and $5 for a Deal that didn't print this Summer
Plus that $42 in RA cash and $93 in F/B sales site cash I don't know where to direct.
Things are shaping up to be decent for my freebie stash going into Christmas 2016.
How about you?
What are your tricks and techniques for saving for Holidays spending?
How is your stash coming along?