Summer vacations are over. It’s time to start planning for that next big expense: Christmas (or whatever year-end holiday you celebrate). Don’t get caught off guard this year and be forced to either go into debt or raid your emergency fund. Plan ahead and be ready for an enjoyable holiday time with your family. Consider this your friendly reminder.
Establish a Savings Goal
The first step is to determine how much you need to save. Factor in all your expected costs for gifts, travel, food and entertainment. If you have access to last year’s spending records, take a peek there and make an estimate for this year based on last year’s spend. Now that you have a goal, divide it by how often you’ll be contributing. For instance, once a month would be 4 contributions (using the 15th of each month) from now. Divide your big goal by 4 and that’s what you need to stash away each month till the holidays.
Create a Separate Account
I’ve found that there’s a bigger chance I won’t raid my savings account if I keep it somewhere that’s a little harder to access. A good example of this is an Capital One 360 Savings Account. Opening one of these accounts separate from your regular checking account (with BOA for example) might be a good idea. You can even create multiple savings accounts with Capital One 360.
Open a Capital One 360 Savings Account and get a $25 Bonus.
Review these other High Yield Savings Accounts.
Make it Automatic
Finally, set up an automatic deposit to the account on the date from each month when you’re sure to have solid cash flow. This will ensure you don’t forget about it next month and have the money to contribute. Best of luck with your holiday saving.
Post Edit: After looking through my archives it seems I remind you of this every year. All apologies if I start to sound like a broken record with this saving/automation/separation thing. It’s just what works for me.