9 Underrated Benefits To Start Saving for the Holidays Now (Yes, Now)

Deck your halls early for more savings and less stress.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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In an ideal world, winter holidays bring joy, togetherness, and happy memories. In the real world, they bring a hefty dose of stress and financial strain too.

 But this isn’t inevitable — by preparing for the holidays now (yes, now), you can lighten your financial load at the end of the year.

Not convinced that holiday saving or shopping is worth your while in July? Here are a few reasons to consider it.

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Helps removes holiday stress

poplasen/Adobe blur image of shopping mall

According to the American Psychological Association, 41% of U.S. adults said their stress level increases during the holidays. By saving for holiday shopping months in advance, you can remove a huge stressor that would otherwise cloud November to January.

Time to receive more help from compound interest

ungvar/Adobe american dollars as a christmas gift

You won’t make a mint on the interest in your savings account between now and December, but every little bit of compounding interest is money you don’t have to save. Put your money to work by using a high-interest savings account to put away funds for the holidays.

Helps establish a budget for more than gifts

135pixels/Adobe piggy bank money

How much to spend on gift-giving is a personal question. If you’re not sure how much to plan for, aim for around $200-$1,000, depending on the size of your family and how big you like to celebrate the holidays.

And don’t just budget for the gifts. Include extra expenses like decorations, holiday clothing, special events, and meals in your budget, as these can add up. For example, a family spends an average of about $100 on Christmas dinner alone.

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Helps you buy better gifts

Kittiphan/Adobe christmas sale concept

By saving up now, you may be able to afford more lavish gifts for your loved ones. Starting early means more time to save and/or earn the money you need to create the holiday bash of your dreams.

Starting now gives your credit card a break

Farknot Architect/Adobe woman choosing credit card to use

Starting January with a huge credit card bill from holiday spending is no way to ring in the new year. Keep yourself from going into debt by spreading out your savings and shopping over the next few months instead of throwing all the costs on a credit card and having to pay interest charges later.

It puts less pressure on one singular paycheck

Charnchai saeheng/Adobe businessman giving cheque to client

No matter which holidays you celebrate, slow and steady savings will help you have enough by the time they arrive. Set a savings goal for the total amount you need, then divide the amount by how many months you have left to save. Even if you fall short of your goal, you’ll be better off than if you’d waited until the last minute to start saving.

Gives you time to use mid-year windfalls

Vitalii/Adobe checking bills after buying

If you plan ahead, you may only need to save the windfalls you get for your holiday spending. Use your mid-year bonuses or other large payments outside your normal budget to sock away funds for the end-of-year celebrations.

More time to find deals

SasinParaksa/Adobe People shopping in post christmas sales

When shopping for gifts and decor, time is the best ally to have on your side. By saving and looking around early, you can take advantage of summer sales, back-to-school deals, and other discounts that may pop up well before Black Friday.

You may also find deep discounts at second-hand or thrift stores (especially on decor), but these are hard to find in a pinch because inventory always varies. By giving yourself plenty of time, you’ll get the best deals possible.

Earn more income if needed

structuresxx/Adobe transport concept

If your holiday spending tends to take you outside of your normal means, starting your savings and shopping early will help you know if you need to earn extra income to cover the festivities. You may be able to sell a few unwanted items or pick up a side hustle to make extra cash for the holidays.

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Bottom line

Art_Photo/Adobe celebrating santa hats

During the heat of summer, the winter holidays are probably the last thing on your mind. But if you can start preparing for your end-of-year celebrations now, your future self will thank you.

By starting to save now, you have plenty of time to earn extra money and enjoy some help from compound interest. Hitting the stores early and finding deals can also help you save money.

The holidays come at predictable times each year. Treating holiday spending as an expense that comes at a regular interval (rather than an emergency you have to scramble to pay for) will make the season more joyous and stress-free.

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Author Details

Jenni Sisson

Jenni Sisson is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on personal finance, real estate, and entrepreneurship. She has been published in Business Insider and The Ways to Wealth. In addition to writing, Jenni hosts the Mama's Money Map podcast to help fellow stay-at-home moms on their journey to financial freedom.