It may seem too early to start thinking about Christmas shopping, but if you start saving money now, you’ll thank yourself come Christmas time. By following the tips outlined here, you can spend your year saving money for next Christmas instead of paying off credit card bills from last Christmas.
Money Saving Tip #1: Set up a Separate Bank Account
I have a separate savings account set up specifically for Christmas spending money. I don’t have a debit card or checks for it, so it’s not easily accessible. I put any “extra” money in there that I come across throughout the year (see below), including money I earn from writing articles. Most banks even have an option to have a set amount each month withdrawn from your checking account to be put into your savings account. Even if you just do $20.00 a month, you’ll have an extra $240.00 saved up for Christmas shopping by the end of the year.
Money Saving Tip #2: Cash in Your Spare Change
We keep a huge glass jar in our office that all spare change goes into. A few times a year, I take it to the bank and have the money deposited directly into my special Christmas savings account (tip #1). I usually save at least a few hundred dollars a year this way, which really comes in handy for Christmas shopping.
Money Saving Tip #3: Sell Your Junk for Money
I used to have garage sales every year, then put my profits into my special Christmas savings account (tip #1), but that turned into too much of a hassle. Now I take my items to a consignment shop. Most of these places will take your things and sell them, then give you 50% of the proceeds. I’ve routinely taken clothes, books, dvds, and toys over this year and have made around $60.00. Whenever they write me a check, it goes straight to the Christmas account. You can also check out sites like Ebay and Craigslist if you have more specialized items that require a larger audience.
Money Saving Tip #4: Use a Credit Card with Thank You Points
My husband and I put almost all of our expenses on our credit card. Since we have a card that earns “Thank You Points”, it’s like our money is working double time. Every time we go out to eat, by groceries, or get gas, we’re earning points that we can cash in for gift cards that will come in handy for Christmas. I’ve already cashed in $75.00 worth of gift cards this year and will cash in again before Christmas time to help fund my Christmas shopping. The key to this strategy is paying off the balance of the card every month so you don’t pay finance charges. Go to www.thankyou.com for more information about Thank You Points.
Money Saving Tip #5: Use MyPoints.com
MyPoints.com is a website that let’s members build up points by completing offers, clicking on sponsor ads, doing surveys, and shopping on their site. The points can later be exchanged for gift cards. I do a lot of on line shopping anyway, so I started checking to see if my desired on line store was an affiliate of Mypoints before making a purchase. For example, I just ordered a set of sheets on Overstock through Mypoints and earned 10 points per dollar. As an added bonus, I used my credit card, so I earned Thank You Points through the credit card too (tip #4). This way I’m really making my money make money for me. I plan on cashing in all of my points at the end of the year to fund Christmas shopping or to get gift cards to hand out as gifts.
By using these strategies, I plan to have my Christmas paid for, and then some, by the time the Holidays roll around. The trick is to put away extra money that your aren’t counting on and won’t miss and to take advantage of offers that award you for spending money that you would have spent anyway. Happy Christmas shopping!