As the seasons change from high temperatures all day long to chilly mornings, it may still seem too early to talk about the holidays. But is it?
We just finished up back to school shopping, we’re breaking out the hoodies, the sun is setting earlier and earlier… and before you know it, you’ll be shopping for Halloween costumes, sending out the invites for your Thanksgiving dinner, and all of a sudden, you’re decking the halls for Christmas! Are you ready?
Each year, the Christmas season comes to many of us as a surprise. (Didn’t we just take down those lights?) When it does, the excitement of the holidays can quickly become overshadowed by financial burden. This year, take a little time to plan ahead and save yourself from some of that stress by following one or more of these tips:
- Open up a Central Cents account.
At Idaho Central, our Central Cents Savings account rounds up what you are already spending on your debit card, and deposits the difference into your savings, allowing you to save money without it feeling like a huge task! For example, if you swipe your debit card for a transaction of $15.10, this account will round up the transaction to make it an even $16, and that extra $0.90 is deposited right into your Central Cents account. A few transactions a day over the next few months, and by the end of the year you will have a decent start to some serious savings, without even changing your habits!
- Make it automatic.
Set up a scheduled transfer of a fixed amount to your savings account to go through on pay day, or on any day of your choice. Even if all you can spare is $10 every pay day through the end of the year, this small amount will add up, and can definitely help when the holidays arrive! Making it automatic takes the thought out of it, and makes it quick, easy, and practically painless.
- Hide your savings account.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”? Well, it’s definitely true when it comes to savings! After you’ve set up a Central Cents account or an automatic transfer into a savings account, hide the account from appearing in your eBranch and let the money collect. If you see it every time you log in, you might be tempted to use it before you need to. Hiding these funds can take away that temptation, and allow you to save more than you would expect. Unhide it when you decide to start holiday shopping, and see how much you have saved!
- Buy earlier.
Some people buy gifts all year long, and other don’t start until a week before the holidays. Which one are you? If you lean towards being the last-minute shopper, challenge yourself to start a little earlier this year. Make a list of things you may need to buy, and start watching out for sales and coupons now. Being more intentional about what you are buying can set you up for success in finding the best price, and it won’t have to all happen at once! Having all of your holiday shopping come out of one paycheck can make the amount seem high, but spreading it out over a few months can lessen the impact.
The holidays can often come along with many different stresses, ranging from family obligations to colder weather, and everything in between. This year, take a little extra time to plan out now how you can lessen the financial strain, and let yourself enjoy your holiday season even more!