Holidays Are Getting Expensive…
I don’t know about you, but does the holiday season get more expensive each year? Our families seem to grow and expand and before we even realize it, half of our loved ones don’t even live in the same state anymore. Personally, my sisters seem to bless me with a new niece every single year (5 total now!) which makes the holiday seasons even more special! Although the blessings that growing families provide (let’s be HONEST), the money that comes out of our wallet grows with it.
I recently read a report that stated Americans on average will spend over $960 on holiday gifts in 2017 for their family and friends. This number scared me so much because I know that more than half of the American population has less than $1,000 in their savings accounts! I am a numbers guy, so immediately I had bells going off in my head that knew that this equation wasn’t adding up for most Americans. I thought this had to be a mistake and that there was no way that this number was correct. Then I started to think about that $960 and realized that maybe this wasn’t so crazy.
When my fiancée and I came together around Thanksgiving to go over our Christmas spending budget, we agreed that we would take out $600 in cash and use it for ALL our families presents (and gifts for ourselves). We had to buy presents for our parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces, nephews, Secret Santa, and then each other. That $600 we took out for gifts seemed to fly by before we even were half way through our list. I will take majority blame here because I probably spent 1/3 of that money on myself to upgrade my wardrobe that hadn’t been upgraded in close to 2 years (remember I am the Frugal Money Man) …In the end, that $600 wasn’t enough to cover our entire family’s gifts and we had to take out extra money to cover the rest. I am not sure if we spent the average of $960, but we weren’t far off from it. This got me thinking about how I can take steps now to make sure my 2018 holiday season doesn’t have any financial surprises, and I have come up with 2 savings challenges!
2018 Holidays Spending Fund
I will call the first challenge the 2018 Holidays Spending Fund. The method to go about financing this fund is simple, and you have probably heard it before. Here are the 3 simple steps you need to do to go about funding your 2018 Holidays Spending Fund:
- Look around your house, or go to your closest convenient store and pick up a blank envelope. On the front of that envelope, label it “2018 Holidays Spending Fund”.
- Find a safe/secure place in your house that is easy to remember where it is, and keep the envelope there ALWAYS.
- At the end of every month before you transfer any leftover money to your savings, take out a small amount of that money in cash and place it in your envelope
Below I have created a table that will show you how different amounts of money saved monthly will grow by December 2018. You don’t have to follow any of the 4 savings scenarios exactly, it is more to give you an idea of how certain amounts of money will grow over time.
|2018 Savings||$25 Per Month||$50 Per Month||$75 Per Month||$100 Per Month|
The purpose of your 2018 Holidays Spending Fund is to make incremental small payments in to your fund so that once the next holiday season comes around, you will already have all the money you need for your gift spending. This plan will also benefit your wallet because if you already have your 2018 Holidays Spending Fund fully funded by next December, you will not need to worry about draining your savings account at the last second for gifts!
For some of you who are already on your way to becoming financial gurus, this problem may have not affected you this holiday season. For you select FINANCIAL ROCKSTARS, I present you with a separate challenge (I will also be participating in this challenge).
2018 Holidays Miracle Fund
Some of the saddest stories you may hear during the holiday seasons are ones that include family members not being able to see each other, not having money for gifts, or even worse, not being able to eat. Everyone is going through different stages in their lives, and you could be at a better stage financially than people around you. For you blessed individuals, I challenge you to take part in the 2018 Holidays Miracle Fund! Using the same steps and table I listed above as reference, your fund is going to be used to bless others during the 2018 Holidays season.
The best part of being financially secure is not watching your money grow, nor spending your money. The best satisfaction you will ever get from your financial security is the gift of GIVING. Let’s think about this in an everyday scenario. Do you get more pleasure from buying yourself a coffee at Starbucks, or buying someone else’s coffee who you can tell is having a tough day? Sure, you will get the immediate gratification the coffee provides to yourself, but you will forget about that coffee immediately when it’s gone. On the other hand, buying that coffee for another will have you feeling good for the rest of the day.
I challenge you to fully fund your 2018 Holidays Miracle Fund, and if you’re lost on ways to potentially give this money away next year, here are some great ideas:
- Purchase a family members, friend, or co-workers plane ticket home who can’t afford it on their own
- Give the money to your parents and tell them to use it for the big holiday dinner
- Break up the money and give some to your family, friends, co-workers who may not be able to afford buying gifts for their loved ones.
- Go to your local church/boys & girls club/favorite charity and give them your Miracle Fund
- ***THIS ONE IS REALLY FUN*** – Go to one of your go-to restaurants. Take a date or friend and work together. Do your best to try and locate a server who you can tell is doing a great job, or looks as if they are having a tough time. Once you locate that specific server, go to the manager as you’re leaving and give them your Miracle Fund. Tell the manager to give your entire Miracle Fund to the server as an ANONYMOUS gift/tip…You have no idea what kind of blessing that can provide to someone when they aren’t expecting it!
Becoming financially secure does not come quick. Becoming financially secure is a long-term project that can span years, and even decades to fully accomplish. You will learn more about this in my future posts, but for now I leave you with this.
For anyone who is taking up any of these challenges, I wish you the best in your challenge! Trust me, by the end of 2018 you will thank yourself for doing it. Even if you don’t want to participate in any of these challenges, I also wish you the best going forward in 2018 and I wish ALL of you a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!