Why I've Begun Saving for the Holidays -- Even Though They're Months Away

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  • Many consumers routinely rack up holiday debt.
  • I make a point to set money aside for the holidays well in advance to avoid stress.

It's an expensive season I like to gear up for ahead of time.

Last winter, I spent several thousand dollars on holiday gifts. And while it was a lot of money, it was money I was happy to spend.

I love showering the various important people in my life with presents that bring them joy. And also, I know my kids' teachers, coaches, and activity leaders work so hard and bring so much patience to the table. And so I like to show my appreciation by giving generously during the holidays.

But the money I spend during the holidays can clearly add up -- especially since it's not like my regular bills magically get paused during that time of the year. That's why I've already begun setting money aside for the holidays -- even though they're many months away.

It's all about managing my costs

Saving several extra thousand dollars isn't something I'm able to easily do in a short period of time (not without loading up on work to the point where I barely have time to sleep). But over six months, it's more than doable. And that's why I generally try to give myself about half a year's time to stick extra money into my savings account for holiday spending. By spreading my savings out, I commonly meet my goal so I don't have to cut back on gifts or other expenses in December.

It's an approach I like to take any time I have a big expense coming up. Take summer camp, for example. Camp serves as childcare for my kids during the summer months, and it costs many thousands of dollars. But rather than pay for those two months of camp solely out of my July and August earnings, I instead set money aside for it every month during the year so I'm not squeezed when those tuition bills start coming due.

Similarly, saving for the holidays in advance takes a lot of the stress off. And that alone makes it worth the effort.

Don't land in a tight spot

Many people inevitably wind up with a whopping credit card balance around the holidays. And when you factor in the various expenses that tend to pop up, from gifts to travel to decorations, that's understandable.

But racking up holiday debt is, frankly, a bad way to start the new year. And so if you don't want to land in that boat, do what I do and start socking money away for the holiday season now. It may seem silly to start saving up to buy your Christmas Tree when you're busy planning outings to the pool or beach, but you'll be thankful for having gotten that jump start when the holidays roll around and your list of expenses keep growing.

In fact, not only is it not too early to start saving for the holidays, but it's also not too early to set up your holiday budget. Doing so could make it easier to map out savings goals and avoid financial stress during what's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.

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