Taking the stress out of holiday shopping with a Christmas fund is the best way to celebrate! 11 simple and easy ways to take control of the holiday season and decrease financial anxiety will make holiday shopping fun and exciting instead of financially exhausting.
Christmas is fast approaching and while there are other holidays in between, Christmas is usually the one that leaves our wallets gasping for air. We wait until the last second to start shopping because we want to use a specific paycheck and then stress and anxiety kicks in because we start to second guess what we bought. While the meaning of Christmas is so much more than simply buying material items and shouldn't have long lasting financial effects, it often does.
It is the day that prompts us to make jokes like "I'm still broke from last Christmas" and while said with humor, it is very much a reality. One Christmas season, I had one fund that was an accumulation of random $20's, $50's and coins and this was all I had to my name.
If I was backed up on bills, needed spending money, or was loaning money to someone else, everything was out of this one area. So when I did my shopping and spent between $500 - $1000 on gifts my emergency fund/ sinking funds/ Christmas fund was empty.
I began the new year with zero dollars in my savings and no idea how to budget.
Keep reading to find out how to begin your own Christmas savings with just a few weeks left until holiday season while answering 11 frequently asked questions about the holiday season.
Related Post: This is Why You Can't Save Money
What is a Christmas fund?
A Christmas fund is money specifically set aside for the holidays. This means that once it's gone your shopping should be done and your other methods of saving or income would remain untouched.
For families that have a reliable steady income, having a Christmas fund may not be at the top of the list, but it is still beneficial. It's less stressful to save $50 every two weeks for Christmas shopping than it is to spend most of two checks and become backed up on bills.
For those who do not make as much money or have a reliable stream of income, stress and worry has become a part of holiday season. For many it's normal to sacrifice and not accumulate debt around holiday time. Having a sinking fund for Christmas can be life changing for your health.
Stress is known to manifest in fatigue, acne, headaches, lack of appetite and even overeating.
If you begin your Christmas fund with the first check in January you may have more money to spend on gifts than usual. Or you can set your goal and once you hit it, keep putting money aside for another reason. Shifting financial goals allows your money plans to evolve as you grow.
How can I start a Christmas fund?
It's really simple to start.
What has worked for me is deducting $25 or $50 from my check. If there are 12 weeks left until December 19th you and you put $25 away a week you can save $300.
Keep in mind I am living off of a part-time income so if you make more money, look at your expenses and create your own savings amount. If you need help starting a budget then look into the 50/30/20 budget or the the simple "no-budget-budget"
For the no budget budget you would simply automate your typical savings amount, add up your expenses ( bills, child care, food, subscriptions, transportation) and subtract it from all sources of income you get per pay period.
From this amount you can decide what else you can afford to put aside strictly for Christmas. You can even take the original automated amount and use it as your Christmas fund. It all depends on your lifestyle and what you can comfortably do. If you find that there is any left over money once your bills are paid you may want to consider looking into side hustles or decreasing your expenses.
Consider adjusting how much you spend weekly
What would planning ahead for the holidays look like?
Ask yourself a few questions
How many people can you realistically buy a gift for?
What stores do you have access too?
Do you know what they want already?
Can you begin buying items now as different sales hit?
[Key word = realistic] You may want to get your partner, best friends family, the nice lady from church, and your neighbor from down stairs a gift.