Save Now, Ease Stress Later

The holidays are over, our houses are full and our wallets are empty. We came up with a few little things you can do starting now that will help ease the financial burden that can come with the holiday season in 2011. If you start some of these ASAP, you will notice a huge difference in 12 months.

1. Shop now for next year. If your ornaments and decorations are looking a little ragged, now is the time to stock up with most stores offering discounts of at least 50%

2. Wrapping paper is also on sale but something we did this year was homemade wrapping paper. Kraft paper rolls are a staple in my house, like bread and peanut butter.  My girls love to color and when the weather is cold or rainy we roll out a long sheet and go to town, when we finish one side we flip it over and start again. The finished product is of course beautiful, but HUGE. If I could save and display everything I would but who has the space? Throwing out these sheets seemed like a waste, so we started saving them and used them as wrapping paper for our Christmas Gifts. It’s a personal touch, it saves money and is a great way to recycle.

3. Have you heard of Swagbucks yet? It’s a toolbar you install and use for searching, and you earn “swagbucks” that you can cash in for gifts. I started saving mine, (kind of late in the game) but by the time I was ready to shop for Christmas, I had $30 in Amazon Gifts cards, for doing nothing but using their toolbar and occasionally snagging a code they put on their blog, Facebook or Twitter.

I decided to get an early start for next year and have $5 already. Think about letting that ecru for 12 months, I’m shooting for $100+ this year. There are several ways to earn them so it’s definitely something to check out.

4. A lot of banks have a Christmas Club. By becoming a member of this club, your bank will transfer a desired amount out of your checking account into a Christmas Fund Account. Then around October to November most banks will either send you a check in the mail for this amount or they will deposit the amount that you saved into your checking account. $25 a month you probably won’t miss, but it could be a nice little “one lump sum” to get you started next year.

5. Ebay/Craigslist/Yard Sale/Consignment –  With all of the new items that have entered your house this holiday season it’s probably time to clean out some of the old forgotten or outgrown items. Start selling those off and saving the money in a special account or jar. This will only require will power to not spend that cash as soon as it hits your hot little hand.

Are you saving now for next year? What tips do you practice throughout the year to help ease the stress when the holidays hit?

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