When You Should Start Saving For Christmas Gifts

saving for christmas

Hello gals! How is your Tuesday going?

I have what will hopefully be my last advising appointment at school today to pick my classes for next semester – isn’t that crazy?! I graduate in May and then it’s hello adulting. Wow.

It seems like in this phase of life (you know, the broke college student phase) we are always having to think three months ahead. What will our semester schedule be for the Spring? Should we plan a trip for Spring Break? What kind of job/career do we want to have?

I complain about it all the time, but I think I’d feel a little crazy if I didn’t know what I was doing till the last minute.

Speaking of the last minute, is it too early to start thinking about Christmas?!

Those of you that already have your Christmas pj’s in your dresser and have already watched a Hallmark Christmas movie or two (guilty) would definitely say – NO WAY!

Well, have you thought about saving for Christmas?

I don’t know about you, but if life was ideal, I would buy each and every person I love everything their heart desired, donate to five charities, and plan a winter getaway to a foreign country. Buuuut, I’m not made of money. Haha!

I do however know that I want to make sure I can gift my loved ones a little something to let them know I am thankful for them being in my life and I want to celebrate them on my favorite holiday.

This does cost money. And now is a good time to start saving! With a few adjustments to your budget, you can save a pretty good chunk of change in 3-4 months.

It also just so happens for me that most of my loved ones are Capricorns (like me) so around the holidays, I’m also wanting to gift for birthdays!

So my first tip when it comes to saving money for the holidays is to open a separate savings account for the occasion. I’ve had one for a couple years titled “gifts and trips”. Cameron and I like to take a trip sometime around our anniversary in November, and then there are sometimes weddings I attend out of town or just general little weekend trips that I like to take to have a little time away during the school year.

So maybe your “gifts” savings account is for gifts for Christmas, but if you’re someone who wants to have an annual Christmas party, you could save there for that, too. Or if you take a trip with friends for New Years! You’ll just be glad to have some money set aside just for your holiday expenses.

saving for Christmas

So…how do you save money?

Set yourself a goal of how much you want to save

I came up with a number and then divided that by the number of months I was going to do the special budget. In this case, September through December.

Figure out what are your necessities

This is going to look different for everyone. Some people have a gym membership they pay for monthly or maybe you pay for Netflix or Hulu. If these are things you feel you can’t part with, just budget them in. Groceries are obviously a major factor for most people, as well as gas and other utilities.

With your necessities – for example, groceries, create a weekly allowance. You can do something like $25 for groceries each week, $20 gas each week, and $20 for eating out/coffee.

Obviously, you’ll want to try to get these numbers as low as possible since this is your “savings mode” budget. These are just arbitrary numbers! It’ll look different for everyone.

Think about where you can cut back and save more

I currently live at home, so I really shouldn’t be spending $30 a week on groceries like I did when I lived alone and had to cook all my meals for myself. Now, I eat the majority of the food at home, but I will spend $10 each week to grab myself snacks for school at the store. (Ex. RX bars, yogurt cups, mixed nuts)

You can also try to do “no spend” challenges for a week at a time where you don’t spend money at all. (Or do a shorter period of time like a weekend or two days here and there.) I’ve done this before and it’s great because I save every last penny I would have spent on a Starbucks drink, a book from Barnes and Noble that I could check out at the library, or yet another drug store beauty product I truly didn’t need.

Some tips for cutting back and saving:

  • make coffee/tea at home. I make my morning cup, and then make an iced coffee with almond milk to bring to school with me if I need a pick-me-up midmorning. (Instead of paying for Starbucks)
  • speaking of Starbucks, I was spending about $5 there each time for a tall soy latte, but my friend Morgan taught me this hack to get my coffee under $3: get plain coffee, have them add the milk you want, and then get a pump of flavored syrup for flavor. I tried a tall iced coffee with soy-milk and a pump of hazelnut and it’s my new go-to…for $2.75! 🙌🏻
  • eat at home….even if you want to enjoy time with a friend, significant other, or spouse – you can create a really great dinner date at home. I find great recipes on Pinterest and pin them to my “Easy Recipes” board. With a good playlist (or Netflix) on in the background, it’s sometimes better than having gone out to eat!
  • utilize coupons…I know.. duh! I’ve taken to buying my snacks for school based off of what’s on sale. It’s helped me try new protein bars that I may not have picked up, just because they were priced at a bargain that week!
  • eat seasonably.…it’s fun, too!
  • this is my favorite one that I just tried….delete your Starbucks app! The notifications for double star day always got me because I love collecting points, but it just caused me to spend unnecessary cash. I also unsubscribed from several clothing stores like Anthro, Target, and JCrew because those e-mails always made me wanna be spendy! (You can always re-subscribe when you’re not in savings mode. 😉)

Track yourself

Whatever budget tracking system works for you, do it. I’ve heard some people really like Mint. I recently heard someone say she uses a bullet journal to track her spending. I personally just physically write down in my notebook each time I spend. I know it seems tedious, but that’s how my brain works – I’m a pen and paper kinda gal. (Kinda funny since I have an online blog.)

If you stick to your “savings mode” budget, you’ll be saving a certain amount each month or every two weeks depending on how you’re working. And when it’s time to get people gifts and celebrate the holidays, you won’t be sweating every little purchase!

I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any tips for saving money for the holidays!

X,

Cristina

  • Wow… I didn’t even think about starting to save for Christmas gifts. You are so right! I’m definitely going to set some goals for myself and try to plan out the gifts I’m going to be getting!

    Kendal // Life With Kendal

    • Cristina Mandujano

      I’ve been doing it every year since I started college, and it’s really been helpful. I also make a list of who I will be buying gifts for, so I have a good idea of how much I need to save 🙂 Let me know how this works for you!

  • I use the site unroll.me to wrap all my promotional emails into one so I’m not constantly bombarded by sales. They make me wanna be spendy too! I’ve been thinking about Christmas gifts already too, I have ideas for a lot of my family members already so I’m trying to get it out of the way gradually instead of dropping lots of $$$ at once.

    • Cristina Mandujano

      That’s a great idea, Kayla! I bought some canvases at Goodwill a couple weeks ago to paint some things for people and then I’m hoping to find some good sales around Black Friday/Cyber Monday for some more gifts!