I am not good at saving. Like, not even a little bit. I’m the person that sees that e-mail saying “40% off today only!” and instantly clicks to start shopping simply because it’s on sale. Not because I actually needed any of it. And I am also the person who will add that additional $13 of random stuff just to get free shipping. Yeah, saving isn’t my strong suit. I am GREAT at budgeting. But I am not good at NOT spending.
So come Christmastime, I’m looking at my account and thinking hmm… maybe I didn’t need those 8 pairs of leggings even though they were 40% off. Add to the mix that my daughter’s birthday is December 28, and we feel the burn in our pockets for sure. I always INTEND to set money aside. I just never do. Until I discovered the “holiday savings” account at my credit union.
Some financial institutions call these “Christmas Club” accounts or some other variation, but they all work the same: You pop some money in throughout the year, it earns interest (well, it gains a few pennies, really, but the benefit doesn’t really lie in the interest rate) and you can’t touch it until the holiday season. That was key for me – that I can’t touch it. A traditional savings account is right there for me to just withdraw from any old time, promising myself that I’d replace it in a few days and not actually doing that. So the holiday savings type of account was right up my alley.
But, same as I wasn’t good about replacing money I ever took out, I wasn’t good at putting money IN it either. So I set up automatic transfers – $10 every Friday from my checking account and my husband’s checking account. We don’t even notice it, really, but that $20 a week adds up fast. From 11/1 (the day we open the account) to 10/31 (the day it matures), we save up $1,040 – and we don’t have to do a thing!
Come November 1 each year (which happens to be my birthday) that Christmas money gets transferred right into my checking account and the Christmas shopping begins. The account also renews automatically and the transfers continue for the next year. It’s so EASY! I never even think about it. Barely even notice it. It just happens for me all year.
An added bonus is that knowing how much we have saved up allows us to budget and plan for Christmas presents across both families without having to touch a credit card or any regular savings money. Getting it on November 1 also allows us plenty of time to shop deals (hello Black Friday!) and save even MORE money. And, if someone has a baby and we need to pad the budget a little bit, we can increase the transfer amount a few dollars anytime throughout the year. Or maybe someone gets divorced and we can take away a gift so we can lower the amount – just kidding! Well, kinda… I’m just saying the amount is flexible to your needs and abilities and you can set it to as much or as little as you want to make it work for you.
Christmas is by far my favorite holiday and I absolutely love to spoil my loved ones so having this savings allows me the freedom to do that with zero guilt – and with zero effort. We’ve had it going for about four years now and it’s worked great! One five-minute phone call to my credit union got the ball rolling and it’s just kept going smoothly ever since. I’m sure it’s even an option for a lot of institutions to set them up online or through their mobile app. It could not be easier!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Black Friday ads to circle and get my clicking finger ready for Cyber Monday. Happy holiday shopping!