As a child I can remember my mother diligently putting $5 a week away in a holiday club account at our credit union. Every week, the same amount, and every week it was done. These days, the amount has increased to a whopping $10 a week.
Although this doesn’t sound like much, if you multiply $10/week by 52 weeks per year, that’s $520 toward Christmas gifts. The reason she doesn’t need more than this is that she almost always has money left over after her Christmas shopping. Anything left over goes right back into the account. For all I know, she could have well over $1000 in there after all these years.
My Christmas savings account is not that established –I don’t have one. I just use my Christmas bonus to shop for everyone’s Christmas presents. You would think that genetics might play some role in getting me to be diligent about saving money, and in some ways it has. But I have nothing on my mother. She is, and always has been, prepared.
She doesn’t have a college degree and we grew up fairly poor. Yet year after year, no matter how bad our financial situation was, my parents always managed to give us a Christmas. When put to the task of sharing tips for Christmas savings, my mother was the first person to come to mind. Here is what she did:
- Save money all year round. My mother didn’t wait until September to start saving. She just made a habit of going to the bank every weekend to make her Christmas deposit. Every weekend, year after year.
- Establish a holiday club account. These accounts are different from your typical savings account. They are specifically designed for holiday savings. Once deposits are made they aren’t transferred to your checking or savings account until November 1. Different accounts have different penalties for early withdrawals, so make sure you know your bank’s policy.
- Be diligent about saving. When we were young, times were really tough. If there was a bad week or month and my mother couldn’t put the full five dollars in her account, she would put in less or skip a week here and there. When finances picked back up, she would get right back on it.
My goal is to start one of these accounts so that I may enjoy my Christmas bonus!
How do you prepare for the holidays?
Cheryl Bigos graduated from a CareOne Debt Relief Services Debt Management Plan (DMP) in 2008. She is now blogging about life as a DMP graduate in the My Journey out of Debt blog. She works as a Purchasing Manager in Los Angeles, teaches Pilates, and lives with her boyfriend of four years. Cheryl is looking forward to sharing what she has learned from her experience in the DMP and after! Look for great tips about life ‘after’ debt! Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.