As of writing this we are 152 days from Christmas and 121 days away from Black Friday aka the biggest shopping day of the year. What gets me every year is that people (ok I’ll admit, including myself) completely forget about the financial side of the holiday season that is now the entire month of December. Between Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, holiday gifts for the kid’s teachers, or year-end gifts for co-workers the cost of this season can make quite the dent in your wallet. Oh, and don’t forget the new decorations, food, and outfits you need for all of the different holiday events.
If you have known me or have read my posts for any period of time you know that my number one tip is to always plan and to plan early. From my last blog post you know I love to use July as my check-in point and a time to revisit my goals for the year. While checking in on my finances, I look back from mid-November through December of the previous year. I add up all of the spending for gifts, party food (sometimes this can be harder to separate out vs. My normal food shopping), and clothing.
Using this total, I now have my baseline for the 2023 holiday season. You are probably thinking, great, an expensive train is barreling towards me. This is where the early planning comes into play. To celebrate “Christmas in July” I encourage you to start putting aside savings for the upcoming holiday season. Most of us get paid either biweekly or bimonthly.
(Total Spending)/ 6 pay periods until Black Friday= amount to save each pay period
(Totally Spending)/ 7 pay periods until Black Friday= amount to save each pay period
Three things to note when doing this calculation and planning:
1. Think about who you bought gifts for last year v. who you will need to gift to this year. If you have new family members or coworkers make sure you factor in additional funds you will need to spend on those people. Also remember inflation has made that party food a little more expensive. And a number of other items as well.
2. While tallying up your spending from last year I encourage you to reflect on the amount that you spent.
3. You can add an extra pay period or two if you want to continue saving throughout the holiday season. A lot of people use credit cards to pay for these expenses. Those bills then come due at the end of December/ early January. By building up this savings you will be prepared to pay it off as soon as that bill comes in the door (no paying interest for you!).