box of xmas ornaments

b&b137 How to start saving for the holidays in January

We know, we know, no one wants to think about this after going through it, but every year it sneaks up on us.

So let’s plan for it now! Imagine not feelings stressed about the holidays when Thanksgiving hits and having all the savings you need to buy presents, travel, and have all the holiday experiences you know and love.

Episode Highlights:

Pam: I feel like with a little bit of planning…We all know the holidays come up, and they sneak up on us every single year even though it happens every year, and January comes and you’re right, just like Dyalekt said, you don’t wanna think about it anymore. You’re relieved that it’s over, and you go about your year, and then suddenly it’s October and suddenly it’s November, and suddenly it’s hectic again for a whole month, and then January comes around and you just start the cycle over and over. So, let’s try something new in 2017, or whatever year it is.

Pam: Think of saving for the holidays like you save for a vacation.

Pam: It’s just like taxes, ‘cause we know it happens every single year and it’s always a scramble, and it always feels like it snuck up on us, and part of the reason why is because it’s such a stressful time for a lot of people that they do just wanna not think about it for as long as possible, and if we could figure out how to think of it like a vacation, like something we’re excited about and something we know we need to plan for and start saving for, then it might make this year’s holiday season not stressful but actually enjoyable

Pam: The best time to start thinking about it is now, and the reason why is the emotions from the holiday are still fresh in your mind. You remember what was frustrating. You remember what was hard. You remember what stressed you out, but you’re not in the emotion. You’re not living them right now. You have time and space apart from the emotion, and so you can reflect on them but you don’t have to be all wrapped up in them

Pam: Take some time, it is gonna take a little bit of time, to think about what happened last year, and also what kind of plan you actually wanna put into place for this coming year. And really, just try it for this year.  It’s not gonna be something you have to think about very much if you take some time to setup the plan right, and see how you feel during the holidays.

Pam: The first thing you really need to start with is thinking about what last year’s spending was on the holiday

Pam: When you have a conversation with your family about gifts in November or December, they’re in it. They’re in the holidays. They’re thinking about it already. It’s hard to separate how emotional they feel about what they want that year and what they expect and that kind of stuff. So, if you can have these conversations with your family–Like if you’re looking at your budget and you’re realizing that it’s going to cost you much more than you want to spend or much more than you can spend, have the conversations with them earlier.

Pam: Who did you give to that you didn’t really want to give to? …and then the next question to ask yourself is who did you overbuy for? Who did you buy the big gift and then a couple medium gifts?

Dyalekt: We don’t talk about the nuances of gift giving because we don’t talk about anything related to money…One thing that I think might be a nice way to start is try a group thing, rather than running up on a single cousin and being like, “So, over the past four years, how many oven mitts and gifts and whatever have you given back?” Maybe you can put together a little group situation with your family and with your friends so you can discuss it in an area that seems a little safer

Pam: What you may want to do to budget for that is to set up a monthly charitable donation to a place that you like. Think about how much you spent on them last year, just like gift giving. Think about how much you donated to your charity last year, or your charities last year, and divide that by twelve.

Pam: You may have to prioritize holiday travel over gift giving, and if you think about that now, and have the understanding with people now, then you can start planning for saving up for holiday travel and also saving up your vacation time for holiday travel.

Pam: Make sure that [the holiday] is something that’s gonna give you a recharge for the next year.

Dyalekt: Don’t let it be another job.

Pam: Once you look at the number and you have your total and you’ve adjusted everything, and you’ve taken out all the stuff that really isn’t important and really isn’t urgent, then divide that number by 12, or 11, or however many months are left until December, and it is really as simple as setting up a separate savings account. You can save every month if you want, or you can choose to save every week. So, for instance, $1,000 is only $20 a week for 50 weeks

Pam: One nice thing about this time of year is you do get a big tax refund. You may also be getting a bonus at the beginning of the year. And so you may want to consider starting with a clean slate and taking some of your tax return, or all of your tax return, and paying off as much of the debt as possible from the holidays.