The holidays can be stressful, but good Christmas planning can help you avoid the anxiety altogether — leaving only the joy you’re supposed to feel this time of year.
Let’s admit it. One of the chief causes of stress when it comes to the holidays is money.
But good Christmas planning can help you make sure you set enough money aside to feel less pressure, and it can also help you get the best deal possible when it comes to the spending that this season brings.
Here are 5 Christmas planning tips to help you feel less stress this holiday season:
Christmas Planning Tips
1. Save Early, Save Often
The clock is already ticking. If you’re planning to spend roughly $650 on Christmas — which the average American family has done in each of the last two years — you’ll need to save roughly $80 per week! The longer you wait, the higher that weekly contribution number will climb. Do yourself a favor and start setting that money aside now. Procrastination is a major source of Holiday stress, after all.
2. Plan a Christmas Budget
One key piece of Christmas planning that should take place before the spending starts is planning a Christmas budget. You’re about to spend a bunch more money in a month or two than you typically do. If you don’t first come up with a list of people to buy things for and a clear breakdown of your intended spending for each person, it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the holiday sale excitement and end up overspending.
3. Stay Out of Your Emergency Fund
As PerkStreet’s friend Dave Ramsey likes to say, Christmas is not an emergency; it comes at the same time every year. When the pressure’s on it can be easy to dip into your emergency fund — or worse — to take on credit card debt in order to buy what you think you should for those you love. Avoid this behavior at all costs. Spending a bunch of money you don’t have might make your friends and family think you’re really generous, but that will be nullified if you have to contact them for financial help before year’s end.
4. Price Shop Everything
In the Internet Age, if you’re not price shopping, you’re not trying. Remember that when something’s on sale, it’s only on sale with respect to the prices a retailer typically charges for it. Not all sales are good deals. Pairing PerkStreet with Amazon means earning twice the usual number of rewards you get on PerkStreet, effectively, and the Amazon PriceCheck smartphone app allows you to comparison shop any item by taking a picture of the barcode or searching for it quickly. It’s a super fast way to find out what something is really selling for. Online prices, on or off Amazon, often beat holiday sales happening in-store.
5. Start Planning for Next Year
Getting back to the first tip on this list, the more time you give yourself to save the amount of money you intend to spend on the holidays, the less painful it becomes. Christmas planning is best started in January. There are lots of ways to save for Christmas, too. Many credit unions offer special Christmas accounts, which you can stash money into. Many PerkStreet customers traditionally stash their debit card rewards away until the holidays. The fact that they can redeem their perks for gift cards, even saves shopping for many of them! No matter how you do it, find a way to send Christmas money aside.
What kind of Christmas planning do you do to prepare for the holidays each year? Share your best tip or your reactions to this post below!