Let’s be honest, when it comes to the Christmas holiday season, some of us cringe at how much money we know we will spend, and the rest of us will overspend, and completely ignore our budgets during this time. This is the most wonderful time of the year, but not so much for our bank accounts. It’s so easy to get caught up in the holiday spending frenzy, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and forget that we have rent, mortgages, children and families to take care of after it’s all said and done. If you are one of the many millennials out there who will overspend, we want to ensure that you are better equipped this year.
Tonya Rapley is the millennial money expert, and our go-to expert on all things, you guessed it, money! Who better to listen to than someone who gets and understand us as a millennial and someone who is the bomb dot com when it comes to the mula? Rapley shares some amazing advice on three ways to jump start your Christmas savings and tips on generous gift-giving strategies that won’t break the bank.
Saving for Gifts!
Decide who you want you to purchase gifts for and how much you want to spend. Be realistic about your budget. If you only have $300.00 to spend this year, then be disciplined enough to stick to that number. Once that $300.00 is gone, that’s it. Don’t pull funds or use credit from elsewhere to spend more on gifts. Challenge yourself to stick to the number that aligns with your financial goals.
Each time you get paid, save some money. The amount to save depends on the total amount you want to have available to spend during the Christmas holiday season. Saving small amounts now will equal to bigger amounts later. As you’re saving money, research sales that may be available once you’re ready to shop.
Saving for Travel!
Decide if it’s cheaper to drive or fly. Check potential gas prices during your travel dates. Compare flight prices and purchase as soon as possible. Pack snacks so you won’t be tempted to buy a lot of food in route to your destination. Call the hotel manager or director of sales for deals. Contact Airbnb owners to lock in rates. Once you gather the total of your travel costs, start saving towards that amount each time you get paid.
Basic Living Expenses!
As you’re saving for Christmas gifts and traveling, don’t neglect those regular monthly expenses such as rent, electricity, water, gas, and food. Although we want to be ready for the holiday season expenses, our basic living expenses will always have priority. If you take care of those expenses and you’re successful at your Christmas savings plan, then you’ll have a stress free, fun-filled holiday season. The best way to end the year is with your mind, body, and spirit at financial ease.
1. Cook or purchase a meal for an individual or a family
If you are unable to cook, use UberEats, DoorDash, or a restaurant’s delivery service to send a surprise dinner to a loved one as a gift.
2. Pay someone’s past due electricity bill
The seasons can be harsh depending on geographic location. Whether it’s heat or air conditioning, those bills can get pretty heavy. Why not ensure someone has continuous comfort in their home? If you don’t know anyone personally, ask your local utility company to apply a payment to a random person’s past due account. Kindness brings good karma… what goes around always comes back around.
3. Offer someone a ride to work or school
If you know someone who rides the bus, train, or walks every day, offer to pick them up or drop them off. Or offer to pay for an Uber or Lyft ride.
4. Spend time with a child who has no siblings
Take them to see a movie, bowling, games, etc. Bring along some other kids, if you can, so that child can have fun bonding with you and the other kids.
5. Write an uplifting note to someone
Most people don’t send or receive handwritten notes anymore. Show someone some love by sending them one. Mail it or deliver in person if possible.
6. Purchase a full body massage gift card
If you know someone who’s always working during the holidays and doesn’t get much time off, relaxation is definitely a necessity for them.
7. Offer to babysit the kids
Offer to babysit for a single parent or couple who doesn’t get a break often, so that they can have a date night or enjoy some much-needed ME time.
8. Purchase a gas card
Gas can be expensive, especially if you have responsibilities all over town or drive long distances to work. Gift a gas card to someone who frequently drives long distances to work.
9. Visit with someone in person
Go to someone’s home and just talk or watch a movie. Money doesn’t always have to be spent to have a good time. Sometimes just sitting and talking can be a great way to stimulate your mind.
10. Host a vision board party
We are all works in progress. We all have goals and dreams to accomplish. Why not connect with others and provide a safe and judgment-free zone to encourage, motivate, and inspire? Any day can be your personal New Year, and what better way to help someone else (or even yourself) hit reset on your life and get clear on your visions by creating an action plan for success!
Let’s start saving. Use an envelope, a jar or designate a checking or savings account to stash the money in. As these weeks roll by, check in to make sure you’re saving the appropriate amount. Make it fun. Get creative. Involve the kids and other family members. Together the whole family can be financially ready for the Christmas Holidays!
To learn more about Rapley, visit her site MyFabFinance.com and follow her on social media @MyFabFinance.