The following is a post from contributing writer Karen.
7 Ways to Save for Christmas Next Year…Now
1. Dedicate Savings ~ Start by dedicating a specific place to put your Christmas savings. Whether it’s a savings account at the bank, an envelope in your home safe or even a cookie jar.
2. Make A Budget Cut ~ Review your family expenses and find something to cut out. Cut out cable or reduce your cell phone minutes. If you reduce a monthly expense by $20, put that automatically into savings and by next Christmas, you’ll have over $200.
3. Start Buying Now ~ The day after Christmas is the best time to start filling your gift closet. There are many items significantly marked down or on clearance. Buying items on clearance and spreading your purchases out, will help reduce going into debt during the holidays.
4. Start Earning Rewards ~ Sign up for a reward program like Swagbucks and earn points that you can put towards gift cards. Swagbucks allows you to search the web like you normally would, all while earning points. Once you’ve accumulated a set amount of points you can redeem them for merchandise or gift cards.
If you use a credit card, make sure you have a card that does not cost you anything and that you are earning rewards on every purchase. We have a cash back card and at the end of each year we get several hundred dollars credited to our account.
5. Start Selling ~ Pick 2 days next year to have a garage sale. Use these days to get rid of clutter around your house. Commit to putting money earned into the Christmas savings account.
6. Clip Coupons ~ Start taking advantage of items that are free after sales and coupons. Candles, batteries and hair accessories can make great gift basket items for teachers or co-workers. Take the time to use sales and coupons for your grocery shopping and commit to adding every dollar you save, to your Christmas savings.
7. Give Something Up ~ This is a great project to do as a family. Sit down and have each member commit to giving something up. Maybe it’s Mom’s coffee purchase on the way to the office or lunch out with co-workers. The kids might choose to cut pizza nights back to once a month instead of every Friday. It could be as simple as ordering water to drink when you eat out.