We have to start now! Now is the time to budget for your Christmas 2012 spending. As soon as you set your budget you can begin a savings plan. I spent some time yesterday reviewing my 2011 finances and spending habits. This include a close review of just how much I spent towards Christmas and the holiday season. It really can add up! I had Christmas expenses as far back as April (I really do buy the bargains when I see them). So as you are still paying your bills from 2011, resolve now to not have bills after 2012. Plan now to save all your money throughout the coming months to have the funds on hand.
So how do you do that? First you must have an idea of the amount you plan to spend. Let’s say you plan to have $1,000 to spend for Christmas fun and giving. Whatever amount you decide, think about taking ten or eleven months to save. If you want your money for Black Friday, you have less time to save than someone who plans to save until Christmas Eve. Next you have to decide how often you plan to put money into your savings. If you get paid every 2 weeks and you want to have your money for November, you would need to save about $50 each pay period. I plan to start my saving with my next paycheck at the end of the month and to save until November, so I have 20 paychecks to pull my Christmas savings from.
Next up is to decide where to save. You could just keep the money in a box. You could just leave it in your checking account and “save” it for later. We all know that these types of savings “plans” often derail since the money is so readily available to “borrow” with plans to put it back next month. You could place it into your existing savings account and just pull out what you need later. I am proposing that we all start a new account. A special Christmas savings account- we can create our own version of the old-fashioned Christmas Club accounts. There are many different options out there to set up a new online savings account. I will be doing just that. I have spent a good bit of time reading about the options and looking into which companies are a smart choice. Here are the four I have narrowed my search down to include: Sallie Mae High Yield Savings, Ally Online Savings Account, Smarty Pig, and ING Direct Orange Savings Account. This is where your help comes into play. What advice do you have to share? Recommendations? Experiences? I want to take it all in and then make my decision. In the next week I’ll be blogging more about your input and my decision. I admit I am currently leanING a little towards one in particular.