Why Planning Ahead Now Can Help You Save Money for the 2012 Holiday Season

Earlier this year I wrote an article called Coupon Your Way to Your Summer Vacation where I challenged myself to save enough money for a nice vacation this summer.

I’m thrilled to report that I saved enough on my grocery bills to cover over half of our upcoming trip to Jamaica. For the record, the rest of the money we saved from our tax refund from this past year.

Since I did so well saving for this trip and proved to my husband that I could save the money, what should I start saving for next? I’d love to start saving for a trip to Disneyland, but first I need to save enough for Christmas gifts. I know that it may sound crazy to start thinking about Christmas, but at the Bayless house, it’s never too early to start saving for the holidays. My husband always thinks I go a little overboard with buying gifts around the holidays, but I like to stick to the motto that “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

I also think that the earlier you start a Christmas savings plan of any kind, the less you have to worry about as the holidays approach. So here are a few ideas to start saving up for whatever the must have items will be this holiday season.

Clearance and Sale Aisles

Anytime I have a few extra minutes at the store by myself (which doesn’t happen a whole lot), I make it a point to check out the toy clearance and sales aisles at stores like Target, Kmart, Toys R Us, and Walmart. You never know what kind of bargains you might find by doing this! Clearance and sale aisles are also great places to pick up gifts for birthday parties that your kids will be attending.

Set up a Christmas Account at your Bank

Check with your local bank to see if they offer any type of Christmas savings accounts. At our bank, we put money into this account automatically once a month, and then the middle of October, the bank transfers the balance to our regular checking account so we have it to Christmas shop.

Save the Money You’re Saving on Groceries

This is how I was able to save the most money for vacation. Each week, I would go through my receipts and add up the amount of money I’d saved by following sales, using coupons, and using my saver’s cards. I then transferred some of this money to our vacation account. You can use this same idea with saving for Christmas.

Maybe I am a little crazy to start planning for Christmas now, but come December when I’m on a mission to complete my boys’ Christmas lists, I’ll feel a lot better knowing that I have that extra money in my bank account, and just maybe I’ll have saved enough money so I can start saving for that Disney vacation too!

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