With nothing but lazy summer days ahead, who’s thinking about holiday shopping? People with a smart game plan that includes an easy way to save, a budget, and a shopping list, that’s who. Pretty smart, right? With a little bit of planning, you can do the same with Dane County Credit Union’s Holiday Savings account. By setting a little money aside each paycheck starting in July, you can fully fund your holiday shopping. Even better, you’ll avoid months of post-holiday credit card interest and payments. Still interested? Of course you are, because you’re a smarty!
Start by preparing a detailed holiday shopping list, perhaps based on last year’s gifts. Determine who exactly will be included (family, close friends, etc.) and then decide how much to budget for each person. By allocating a specific dollar amount, you avoid overspending at the last minute when time is short, stores are crowded, shipping will take too long and you still don’t have anything for Aunt Bonnie.
Once you’ve completed your shopping list, compare this initial budget against last year’s gifts expenses. Here you can decide if your goal is to be consistent with last year’s budget, or maybe you’re trying to trim it back. After you’ve decided on this year’s holiday giving budget, factor in your payroll schedule and determine the automatic deposit amount to your Holiday Savings Account. For example, a biweekly deposit of $50 (over 18 weeks) will add up to $450, and $75 will bring you to $675.
Jump ahead to the fall months as you’re putting away Halloween decorations and pulling out Thanksgiving items. On the first business day in November, your holiday funds (and dividends) will automatically be transferred to your savings account. With your holiday budget fully funded, shopping list in hand, and almost two months before the holidays, now it’s time to scope out the best deals and prices. Maybe even score on some early bird pricing at your favorite Madison shops!
By bringing a little bit of holiday spirit into the summer months, you too can successfully fund your entire shopping budget, earn dividends and pay for all of it immediately rather than paying off credit cards (and accruing interest) in the New Year.