Oh, why is it the holidays seem to creep up on us earlier and earlier each year? Back to School shopping begins in July, pumpkins and candy corn are in stores on Labor Day, and would you believe I actually contemplated what Christmas wrapping and ribbon to buy while perusing the Costco aisles and my kids haven’t even chosen their Halloween costumes yet?!
I don’t know about you, but I used to feel caught off guard when the holiday shopping season rolled around. I would end up using my credit card way more than I was comfortable with. Gifts got out of control, our decorations multiplied, and I never felt I had enough. After years of battling the costs of the holiday season, I put an end to the madness!
After a good examination of my budget, I quickly realized I could easily set aside a little money each week and by the end of the year have enough to cover the holiday madness. Boom! My very own 52-week money challenge was born! The holidays are fully funded now and I feel relief knowing all of the gifts and extras I buy during the holiday season are already accounted for with money set aside.
“Are you really expecting me to save $202 that last month of the year?”
But, HOW do you do that? It seems simple at first if you Google “52-week Money Challenge”. $1 for the first week, $2 for the second week, and so on. Ahem, Kristy? Are you really expecting me to save $202 that last month of the year? No! Of course not! I immediately saw the flaw in the original 52-week money challenge. There was no way I could commit to saving $49 + $50 + $51 + $52 in December!! So with some simple math, I adapted the 52-week money challenge to fit my budget and set myself up for savings success!
The amount of savings you would have at the end of the original 52-week money challenge is $1,378. To make that number even better, I settled on a specific weekly dollar amount. Each week, I would commit to putting away $30. It may seem like a lot to put away, but small changes add up! Look at a week’s worth of expenses and see where you may be able to adjust your lifestyle for one day to give yourself that extra money to set aside for this 52-week money challenge. Bring your lunch from home one day. Cut out your morning latte on another day. You get the idea.
So $30 a week brings my 52-week money challenge savings to a whopping total of $1,560. Pretty good chunk of change to easily cover holiday gifts, decorations, and other surprise expenses that seem to pop up around this time of the year. And you want to know the best part of my 52-week money challenge? I never have to think about it week after week!
“Look into your bank (or even better, your credit union)”
My favorite money saving tip, other than a miscellaneous account, that I frequently share with others is to set it and forget it. Look into your bank (or even better, your credit union) and ask about setting up a weekly transfer from your checking account to your new Holiday Savings Account. Once it is set, you will sit back and watch that Holiday Savings Account grow. Think of how proud, and less stressed, you will feel once the holidays arrive and you are prepared!
So go out, and challenge yourself from now until the holidays. How much will you be setting aside each week? How will you celebrate knowing you have made the smart decision to start saving NOW for the awesomeness of the holiday season coming? Buy yourself something nice...I know you’ll have the money for it!