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Holiday Tips that are Easy on Your Budget
Don't let the Holidays wipe you out financially
It is good to stick to a budget any time of the year, but perhaps especially during the busy holiday season. For us, Christmas is a favorite time of year, but if we aren't careful, too much money can be spent. Its good to plan ahead for these kinds of things every year, because you know you will always feel justified spending for gifts, perhaps even going into debt because its Christmas, after all.
Christmas Club or Vacation Club
One of the best tips I ever heard, that really saved people money was to open up a Christmas Club account, also known as a Vacation Club account. I recall the first time I heard of it, thinking it sounded odd but rather interesting. My Aunt was telling me about hers, and how much money she saved up that she never missed throughout the year. When it was time for Christmas to come around, she had money set aside, and budgeted in this way to help her through the busy season. All of that, without going into debt, which was even better.
Christmas Clubs or Holiday Clubs
These clubs are accounts that people deposit money into regularly to save up for the holidays or for a vacation. The money doesn't necessarily earn a high rate of interest, but a little is great. The point is to be stashing away little bits at a time, that aren't even missed, only later to find that you have a good lump of money saved up. This can enable people to shop with ease and less stress. If you haven't planned ahead financially for Christmas or the like, it can really hurt you financially. Who wants to be paying off debts for presents purchased long ago?
You can start one of these plans at a bank and deposit small amounts weekly. Some deposit as little as five dollars a week, and some 100 dollars a week. Whether five or five hundred, you will be amazed at the quick growth. It has been compared to pass book accounts in the pass, for their interest earning power. People love that they are planning ahead for something they know they will want or need.
Budgeting for your gift giving just makes sense. I have seen people have unique calendars that keep track of card or gift giving and important dates for friends and family. Many people can't afford gifts for all the people the would love to give to. Its so nice to send a card anymore, people hardly do that anymore it seems.
Save money by allotting a certain amount each month to be put aside for gifts for others. You may go months without buying gifts, but you know the holidays are just around the corner.
Without sounding cliche, the other thing I have observed are people giving more home made gifts during the holidays. I actually love these things, personally. I have received everything from special teas, spices, candles, gift baskets, quilts, and all sorts of baked goods, framed photos, etc. You get the idea. These types of gifts are my favorites very often. Do they cost people a lot of money? I am guessing they usually don't cost a lot, but the idea is there and the gift was so touching.
People may not like that kind of thing, but that is alright. Again, saving and budgeting after looking at all the people you may want to buy for is a great way to plan ahead. Saving money and not allowing yourself to go into debt is something you will be grateful for, for a long time.