It’s November 1, 3:35 p.m. when it hits me. Today is the day! I quickly open the DCCU app to peek at my regular savings balance with one eye closed and the other squinty. YES!!! What did my wide open eyes behold but a nice fat deposit from my holiday savings account. One of my favorite days of the year!
Let’s go back in time before I knew one of the greatest secrets in personal banking history. Way back, before kids. Christmas was a traditional time of stress for me. I hardly made any money and lived paycheck to paycheck. But I love gift giving! So every year, I’d pull out my credit card and not pay too much attention to how much I was spending for the season. Then I’d spend the rest of the year paying it off – or TRYING to! It seemed pretty normal to me. Isn’t this what everyone else does?
Oh, girl. Many might, but it is NOT a good thing.
Turns out the smarter thing is to prepare throughout the year and use cash for shopping. Leave those credit cards tucked away in the wallet. Say what?? How in the world would I ever be able to do that?
Hello, holiday savings account, I love you.
Everything is different now. And I mean EVERYTHING. Besides the fact that I have 4 kids now (that’s a whole ‘nuther story), I shop for Christmas gifts with CASH! It is the BEST feeling ever! I couldn’t do it without my DCCU holiday savings account. No way, nuh-uh. I’m a bad saver, but this account makes it SO easy! On that very first holiday savings transfer year, a light bulb turned on. I’d found personal banking gold. I call it DCCU’s best kept secret.
But now you are IN on the secret! And YOU NEED a holiday savings account. No joke. Once you try it, you’ll never NOT use it.
So buckle up because believe it or not, it’s time to start planning for holiday shopping 2020. Ok, really, you can wait, like I do, until January. But believe me, I already have that first transfer queued up, ready to launch on Jan 3, 2020. I might even bump up the amount a smidge.
Holiday savings account chestnuts and bolts
1. Open a holiday savings account at your favorite Madison area credit union.
A few ways to do that are to call in, use the open an account button at dccu.us, click the Self Service tab in eBanking, then Open Additional Accounts. Or heck, stop by a branch, have a sit down, a cup of hot coffee and walk out a happy holiday savings account holder.
2. Set up an automatic deposit so you can build the balance bit by bit every time you get paid. This is super easy to do in eBanking.
3. My favorite part: Do nothing else all year.
4. On November 1, or the next business day, your stash automatically transfers to your regular savings – like magic – available for shopping!
Decide how much to put in there
Me, I deposit $85 into my favorite account every time I get paid. It covers my family of 4 kids as well as various favorite people like nieces, nephews, grandparents, my partner and my sweet Godson in France. I set my sights on spending about $250 on each of my kids which leaves me a nice chunk for the rest of my people.
But what if all of a sudden I NEED the Bob Ross Chia Pet? Cha-cha-cha-chia
I find that if I don’t set limits, I’ll overspend. No doubt. It’s sometimes really challenging to not spend more, especially when I see the perfect gift (c’mon, it’s Bob Ross!) AFTER I’ve already spent my budgeted amount. Luckily, that practical little voice in my head reminds me – the kids don’t need more STUFF. And presents don’t equal love. Ahhh, urge resisted. Sorry, Bob.
Afraid to fail?
If you’re not a good saver, like me, you probably worry that you’ll just withdraw each automatic transfer and not let it build it up. Here are a few things that will help:
- You’ll have to pay a $5 fee per withdrawal. That will make you pause and consider if it’s worth it.
- Set a realistic amount to transfer in the first place so you don’t miss it and feel like you have to dip into the kitty.
- You can pause your automatic transfers in eBanking if you need to. True confession – holiday savings edition: sometimes (ok, every year) I skip a deposit or 2 during the year if I need the money. And I typically don’t deposit between November 1 and December 31 in case I need a little extra dough for Christmas biscuits or a gift I didn’t anticipate. And darn those property taxes! If I didn’t put enough aside throughout the year for those, I’ll need to scrape it together.
I’m older and wiser these days and I’m so glad! I like this girl much more. Don’t be shy, go open a holiday savings account and be your own hero. You won’t regret it. This unique savings account and best kept secret is designed specifically so you have a pile of cash to spend for holiday shopping. Won’t that be fun?