10 Ways to Start Saving Money for Christmas Now

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10 Ways to Start Saving Money for Christmas Now

Yep, you read it right:  Christmas.  I know, it’s only March, but the thing is, for many of us the holidays always seem to sneak up on us.

I know there’s that whole put money aside each month and forget about it principle, and I don’t know about you, but there always seems to be a more pressing need each month.  So here’s 10 easy ways to start saving now and hardly feel it:

elf-on-the-shelf-christmas-present2

  1. Put any money you get that isn’t a paycheck into an envelope.  When you find spare change or a $5 bill in your coat pocket, put it in the envelope.  Put any money you get for shopping rebates or cash back into the envelope.  If your friend gives you cash to pay her portion of the lunch bill, stash it, and put it into the Christmas envelope.
  2. Stash gift cards.  If you earn gift cards or get them as gifts, put them in the envelope.  You can exchange them for presents later on {just be sure to check the expiration dates}.
  3. Only buy things that are on sale.  Put the difference of the regular price and sale price into the Christmas envelope.
  4. Eliminate one meal out each week.  Put the money you would have spent into the Christmas envelope.
  5. If you haven’t signed up for Swagbucks, it’s a super simple way to earn gift cards that you can apply towards your Christmas shopping.
  6. Sell your stuff.  Stuff you don’t use is just clutter.  Commit to selling one or two items a month on ebay or craigslist.  Sell gently used clothes your kiddos have grown out of  to consignment shops.  Put your earnings in the Christmas stash.
  7. Open up a Christmas account.  A lot of accounts, like the Capital One 360 free online checking account will give you $50 for free, just for opening an account.  {I don’t know about you, but $50 can go a long way towards Christmas.}
  8. Cut back on your cable/dish package for just 2-3 months.  This is a great way to save some money in the summer when the shows are not new and you’re outside most of the time anyway.  Put the difference into, yep, you guess it, your Christmas envelope.
  9. Lower your cell phone plan or cut the landline.  This could easily free up $50 per month towards Christmas.
  10. Round up all of your purchases, keep track and “pay yourself” daily.  When you go to the grocery store and pay $4.58, round up to $5.00.  Put the extra $.42 into the envelope.  Rounding up all your purchases will add up fast.

How about YOU? How do you budget for Christmas?

Do you have any painless Christmas saving tips?

~Mavis

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Comments

  1. I start asking people what they would like for Christmas, get tons of “SHE’S NUTS!” looks but also get some interesting answers. And shop now, put away and hunt frantically the month before looking for what I stashed 6-8 months before. Usually works out well and a lot I get at bargin/rock bottom price now.

  2. Christine Takada says:

    Great ideas, and yes, fairly painless. I always, at the end of the day, remove all change from my wallet, and stash it in a piggy bank, and yes, it DOES add up fast!

    • I empty my pocket and my husband’s pocket of change every night and put it in a gallon milk jug. Last year it contained $647 and some change, after only 12 months of collecting. Completely painless. SOmetimes I found myself paying with a bill just to get more change to put in the jug!

  3. I was just thinking the other day it is time to save for Christmas. I save whatever change I have for the year and also add a certain amount into my budget each month. I treat it like a bill. Then at Christmas I am happy when we have money in that envelope.

  4. What are you talking about no new TV shows in the summer!?? Most cable stations have split seasons, meaning 10 or so new episodes in the winter and 10 in the summer. And some shows are ONLY on in the summer. Plus, I don’t think you can just call up your cable company and ask them to cut your cable for 3 months. I think you’re on a sort of contract. But yeah, if you don’t ever watch HBO, then you shouldn’t be paying for it. My husband and I don’t pay for any premium channels.

    How do I budget for Christmas? I really don’t. I spend what I want to spend on people (usually splurging on my sister and husband), but I always try to get stuff on sale or use a discount of some kind. Like, I got my sister and husband gift cards for free this past Christmas by using points on Swagbucks. I also got my father a free magazine subscription by using points on Recyclebank. We have Amazon Prime (paid for by my father-in-law) so I get lots of gifts from Amazon and don’t have to pay shipping. I wouldn’t actually want to buy gifts for anyone this early. What if my mother mentioned she wanted a particular kitchen item and I saw it on sale so I bought it? But then she bought it for herself this summer? I definitely wouldn’t be able to return it at that point!

    • Penelope says:

      We aren’t on a cable contract. We have considered cutting down to basic for most of the year, and only adding expanded during football season (I want to watch my college team). Our city charges a fee (2 months worth) to cancel entirely, and then the same amount to start back up. I still have to look into this more. We just don’t watch TV much, but to get any signal when we do, cable is the only way around here.

      And you are one lucky person to not have to budget for Christmas! That would be sweet!

      • Yes, I am lucky, but I also don’t have kids! I don’t really use a budget at all, but I don’t spend excessively. I barely go clothing shopping, my husband and I barely ever go out to eat (although we should do that soon!), I bring my own lunch every day, and I coupon for all my toiletries, paper products, etc. It’s more that I’m stingy and don’t want to spend money than that I necessarily need to save it!

        I pay just over $100/month for internet/cable/landline, so I certainly wouldn’t want to have to pay $200 to cancel cable and then another $200 to restart it! It wouldn’t be worth it. Although you might just have to pay 1/3 of that, so about $67.

  5. I have my credit union direct deposit $25.00 a month into a savings account in a different credit union. The second one is harder for me to get to so I’m not tempted to raid it. I chose $25.00 because it was slightly more than I figured I was saving by using coupons (I didn’t used to before retiring) and shopping sales (ditto). I was trying to set aside the exact amount I saved on every grocery trip, but that didn’t happen. For me the direct deposit WORKS. I do also save my change in one of those jars that has a counter on the top….fun and I get instant feedback on my savings. That money is set aside for other projects, but the idea is the same.
    Thanks for asking, Mavis!

    • I do the same thing. I have a Christmas club account and have had it for years. Comes right out of my check. Don’t miss it since I’ve been doing it for so long. I can’t remember what the amount is that I have taken out of my checks, $15 maybe?, but every October I have about $800 for Christmas shopping for us and the kids. For everyone else I shop year-round and on clearance/out of season. Just about done now with all the Christmas shopping for this year – except for the immediate family.

      • How did I know you would already have most of your Christmas shopping done already LaToya? You are the queen of shopping. :)

  6. I agree with Kathy, start shopping now. I don’t necessarily ask my loved ones what they want for Christmas, but I keep an ear out for them to say “Oh, I like that, I wish I had one.” I write it down and buy it when I find a good deal on it. Also, I grab Groupon and Living Social deals as they come along and seem to be something my family would enjoy. One or two presents a month is a lot easier for me than trying to cram all that shopping in during December. I’m a lot less stressed and feel like I am able to put more thought and meaning into my gifts this way. I also spend less money!

    • Those are great ideas, Jen. The problem with listening to what people say they want and then buying it is what I said, that they might buy it for themselves anyway. Also, you can’t buy Groupons (and other daily deals) too far in advance of Christmas, because usually they are only good for 6 months max, and sometimes less. And I know when I buy myself a Groupon, I usually wait until the last few weeks to use it! (I really need to stop doing that.) So if someone got a Groupon for Christmas and then had to immediately use it, they might not and then you wasted your money.

      • I usually am just getting the Groupon products. So I just order the product and when it arrives I tuck it away somewhere safe.

  7. Sheila Smith says:

    I have had a Christmas Club through the bank since 1979.

  8. Penelope says:

    Up until a few years ago we had a great savings/investment plan through my husband’s company and we just used that. That isn’t available to us anymore.

    This year we have budgeted to put away a certain amount per month into an account that is harder to access. I am also planning on making gifts throughout the year, which is hard because there is always something that has to be done. This way I can use sales on materials and make something really great for less. I also hope this helps to not repeat the year that I was up super late every night trying to race the clock to make nice gifts for everyone.

  9. Mom of 2 dogs says:

    When our satellite contract was up, because we never really watched anything outside of our location stations, I cancelled it. Decided I wanted to see the Grammy’s, so went to Radio Shack to give an antenna a try (and they said if it didn’t work, I could return it…).

    OH MY STARS! HD quality picture on our HD TV! I only get local channels, but we never really watched anything else. We have netflix and hulu, but other than that, just the one time cost of an antenna.

    Before you re-up on your contract, try an antenna! Granted we are 600 feet up, but it’s worth a shot. We never dreamed we would get this type of reception!! For free!

    • I have heard of trying an antenna, especially if you use Hulu Plus and/or Netflix. Can you get channels like HGTV, E! and USA?

      • Amanda, no, those are cable stations. You can get ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and PBS. There are also a lot of other “interesting” channels you can get through antenna-only broadcast. We got a digital antenna in January and haven’t missed anything. Well, I DO miss my DVR. But I just have to make that extra effort to watch the few shows I enjoy when they are actually on. If I miss them though, I can always just watch them online. We now just use the cable company for our Internet. Cutting our $150 cable bill in half was SO worth it.

  10. We finally got rid of all television. We watch the news on our computer, but other than that I don’t miss it very much. I have more time and spend less since I got away from television. I also eat less junk, since my great snacking urge isn’t triggered by television ads. I also find myself bored out of my mind by co-workers conversations about celebrities I have not heard of…all in all, after about a month of withdrawl, I am happy we ditched the TV habit.

  11. Laura Arnett says:

    Rooster help needed—- I recently purchased 6 black australorps 5 weeks ago and today one if my lil men was sortaaid over ad flapping and fluttering around. I grabbed him up and went straight into house to start the chicken spa treatment. While rinsing him I noticed a bubble like area above his right wing- sorta the shoulder/neck area. Do you have ANY idea on what it could be? It’s like an air bubble-

  12. Veronica says:

    I make all of our Christmas gifts each year; little items that are easy, but cherished because they are useful and homemade. Often times it is with help from the kids, which makes it even more special for the grandmas.
    Also, my in-laws’ family does a PollyAnna exchange so we only have two people each to give gifts to. It makes it much easier on everyone when there are 9 people in the immediate family, plus all the spouses and kiddos! The cousins (grandkids) do their own gift exchange so they get to enjoy making for their beloved cousins. We put everyone’s name into a metephorical hat and draw out who makes for whom and who buys for whom (one of each per person).

  13. This is funny to me because I have been wondering/ admiring how you and the girl fund your European jaunts. So in the last few months I started to apply many of your techniques to our ‘theme park fund’, which is a piggy bank that’s taller than my toddler.

    All change that enters the house goes in the pig. Any clutter I sell online, most of the $ goes in the pig, unless it’s a lean week – then just the change makes it in. Baby girl loves dropping coins in the big piggy bank.

    So now I need to come up with a holiday plan…thanks for the reminder! To keep on budget last holiday, I did wildlife adoption gift certificates for most people: $25 each, no wrapping, and it kept me out of the stores!

    This year, with your helpful blog to motivate me, maybe I’ll actually MAKE something! :)

    • You should totally make some gifts. :) Good job on saving when you can too. Having a coin or money jar makes it fun I think.

  14. Another idea for making Xmas gifts is to start now! And when you have a few finished by summer, enter the items in your local county fair(s). Most fair have catagories for craft items: quilts, knitting, crochetting, painting, etc. Enter your “gifts” in the fair, get your blue ribbon, and a premuim check=prize money! We do this each year and it “pays” for the craft items to make new items next year. Plus folks are usually excited to see the blue ribbons on their gifts. This deal gets even sweeter if there are multiple fairs throughout the summer to enter items.

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