The 2010 holiday season is officially behind us, and it is time to look forward. A new year brings so many opportunities and it is fun to make positive plans for the clean calendar year. It is also exactly the right time to figure out how you are going to pay for the holidays when they come around in another 10 or 11 months (depending on when you think the holiday season starts.)
November and December are expensive months for most people, and with a little preparation you can have the cash and other financial resources available to keep yourself out of debt and not worried about money. Consider these five ways of preparing for the holiday cash crunch:
- Build up credit card points and save them for holiday expenses. Obviously, this only works if you don't carry a monthly balance. I have started charging everyday items such as gas and food. Last year, thanks to some impressive moving expenses, we cashed in $350 in credit card points for Visa gift cards. Whether you use it for groceries, gifts or other goodies, that is a lot of extra money.
- Join programs such as MyPoints to earn gift cards. It takes a little time to click on the emails, but the points (and gift cards) will add up over the year.
- Set aside a chunk of money each month to pay for holiday expenses. Put it somewhere inconvenient. If you are really organized, you can do it via allotment so you never even see the money. This works great for our family!
- Make online purchases via a cash back site such as Ebates. Save that cash back for holiday spending.
- Sell stuff on Ebay and leave that money in your PayPal account until the spending season begins.