Thank you to Upromise for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
This year will be my granddaughter’s first Christmas and like most first time grandparents, I want to buy her all the things. It doesn’t help that a few days later she turns one year old. Christmas and a first birthday back to back? Lock up my credit cards now.
As much as I want to lavish her with gifts, I know that I need to practice restraint because 1) she doesn’t need 1,000 toys and 2) I don’t need a $1,000 credit card bill.
If you’re a parent, aunt, friend, sister, grandparent, etc., I’m sure there’s someone in your life that you want to lavish with gifts every Christmas but you don’t because you know you can’t afford it. Or maybe you do lavish them with gifts and regret it later when the bill rolls around in January.
How do we participate in gift giving during the holidays while staying on budget? Better yet, how do we buy gifts and still contribute to our savings account? After years of overspending, I think I’ve finally figured out the right formula.
Money Management: How To Budget During The Holidays and Contribute To Your Savings Account
Make a list
During the month of October, make a list of family, friends, and service providers (housekeeper, hair stylist, etc.,) that you’d like to give a gift to. So you don’t omit anyone, take a few days to create this list. When you’re certain your list is complete, rank the importance of the people on your list from #1 to the number of people on your list. For example, your spouse may be #1, your child may be #2, your mother #3, etc.,
Determine your budget
How much disposable income do you have available to you after your bills are paid each month? If your answer is zero, look really closely at what you’re spending your money on. What can you cut? Can you negotiate a lower bill with the cable company, etc.,?
Maybe you can cut the cord and use Netflix and Hulu instead. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, Prime videos are included for free as part of your membership.
Can you pick up extra shifts at work or take a temporary seasonal second job?
These are just a few suggestions for boosting your disposable income.
If you do have disposable income available to you, determine an amount you’re comfortable spending on gifts and divide it by the number of people on your list.
Example: I’ve determined that I can afford to spend $200 on gifts this year. I have 15 people on my list. $200 divided by 15 is $13.33 a person.
Adjust your gift budget
If you can’t see yourself spending $13.33 on your spouse (or whatever your amount is), start prioritizing. Select a few people on your list and write “homemade” next to their name. Do you really need to buy your second cousin a gift? Does your dad need another tie? If the answer is no, divert that per person dollar limit to the first, second, or third person on your list.
Revisit your list
It’s going to be hard but cross at least two people off your list. Set that per person gift limit money aside for the few people who were marked for homemade gifts.
Homemade gift ideas include baked goods, printable wall art in a frame, beauty scrubs, etc.,
Contribute to your savings account
If you’re going to be spending money on gifts, why not maximize your savings? Upromise helps you ace your savings and stay within budget and you have to do is shop like you normally do. By making eligible purchases, you can earn:
- 5% cash back on online shopping, online travel, and restaurant purchases.
- 2% cash back on purchases made at department stores and movie theaters.
- 1% cash back on all other card purchases.
Upromise is free to join and easy to use. I’ve been a Upromise member since 2001—the year the program began. When I signed up, my kiddo was in elementary school but by the time she reached her first year of college, I was able to withdraw over $300 from my Upromise account to use toward college textbooks.
I’m now using Upromise to save for this future college student (my granddaughter):
If you don’t have children or you don’t have a need to save for education, you can still use Upromise to save for a future car, to pay off student loans, to pay off a mortgage, etc., Doesn’t an extra $300 sound good right about now? How about an extra $1,000?
The fastest way to earn cash back is by applying for and using the Upromise MasterCard card. The Upromise MasterCard gives you a cash back bonus with no limit to the amount you can earn.
This year Upromise is celebrating a major milestone. Since the program began, Upromise members have combined to save over $1 billion dollars in cash back for college! Since the introduction of the Upromise Mastercard, card members have combined to earn $500 million in cash back! Wow!
Whether you’re buying gifts for five people or fifty, let this year be the year that you ace the art of money management. You can do this. I can do this.
This will not be the year that we buy all the things. This will be the year that we make a budget, keep a budget, and reap the rewards in our Upromise savings account.