If You Haven’t Started Saving for This One Thing, Get Moving Now

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You don’t have a lot of time at this point.


Key points

  • Some periods of the year are more expensive than others.
  • It’s important to save ahead of time for the holidays to avoid racking up debt.

At this point, a lot of people are saying goodbye to summer and easing their way into fall. And for parents of school-aged kids, September is very much a time to focus on settling into new routines and activities.

But even though the holiday season may not be on your mind at this point, it’ll be here before you know it. And so if you haven’t started saving money for the holidays yet this year, now’s really the time to get moving.

You don’t want needless debt

Many people routinely rack up debt during the holidays, and understandably so. There’s a lot of pressure to not only spend money on others, but also give kids and loved ones a memorable experience.

The problem with holiday debt, though, is that it can be expensive — especially if it comes in credit card form, which is often the case. A $1,500 credit card balance you rack up during the holidays could easily end up costing you double or triple if you end up with a high interest rate and it takes you a long time to pay it off.

Plus, ending the year in debt can be upsetting, and it could impact your outlook going into the new year. So rather than risk that fate, a better bet is to do what you can to start saving for the holidays ASAP.

How to save for the holidays

At this point, you really only have a couple of months to sock money away in savings for the holiday season. So a good first step is to figure out how much you think the holidays will end up costing you.

If you’re traveling to see family, you’ll want to account for the cost of getting to and from your destination, as well as any lodging you might need to pay for while you’re away. Then, you’ll need to factor in the cost of things like gifts, holiday cards, and decor.

If you commonly host a holiday party and plan to uphold that tradition this year, factor that expense in, too. And finally, don’t forget token gifts for your kids’ teachers and instructors, if applicable, as well as your mail person.

Once you’re totaled up your expected costs, figure out how many weeks you have until those bills start rolling in. From there, you can set a weekly savings goal. If you figure you’ll need $1,500 to cover your holiday expenses and you have 10 weeks to save, that means you’ll need to sock away $150 a week.

You may not have $150 a week worth of expenses to cut back on. In that case, a second job could do the trick in helping you meet your savings goals.

It’s time to get serious about holiday savings

The longer you wait to start saving for the holidays, the more likely you might be to end up in debt once they’re through. Do your best to start focusing on holiday savings immediately — even if you’re still trying to bask in the warmer weather and make plans for early fall.

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