5 simple ways to start saving now for 2016 Christmas gifts
With the holidays all but over, now might be a good time to think about saving cash to buy your next round of Christmas gifts.
Here are five ways to save money throughout the year.
52-week money challenge
The 52-week money challenge is a tool developed to help people save money throughout the year.
The idea behind the challenge is to put $1 in a savings account during the first week of the new year, an additional $2 into the account the second week, $3 more in the third and so on, until you deposit $52 in the 52nd week of the year.
At the end of the year, you'll have saved $1,378 you can put toward Christmas gifts.
If you want to lessen the financial burden at the end of the year, you can save in reverse; putting $52 away in the first week and $1 in the last week of the year.
Buy a gift card every pay day
If you're worried that you'll find yourself in a financial pinch and that you'll spend the money you've diligently socked away, you can buy a gift card of $10, $25 or $50 every time you're paid.
If you're paid biweekly — a total of 26 times a year — and you buy a $25 gift card each time, you will have $650 to spend on gifts.
Even if you spent $10 on gift cards every paycheck, you'll end up with $260.
You can buy the cards from different stores to give yourself options when giving the cards away or using them yourself to buy gifts for friends and family.
Cut back on the coffee
If you buy one or two coffees a day, cut back and toss a toonie or so into a jar.
Cutting back on caffeine can save a healthy little sum of money.
Plunking $1.75 into a piggy bank every day rather than spending it at a coffee shop will net you $638.75 in a year.
Start a Gift Stash
Earlier in 2015, Amrita Singh shared this idea with CBC.
If you leave gift buying to the last minute — even for birthdays and anniversaries — you will likely buy based on convenience rather than price.
You can stock up on some generic gift-worthy items when you see them on sale throughout the year.
The same can be done with toys for kids.
Store the items in one place, maybe in a closet or under a bed, along with gift bags and gift wrapping for easy access.
Did you get something you already have? Maybe you got a gift you simply didn't want or can't use.
Give it away next Christmas – provided it's not something that will spoil or quickly go out of style.
The gifts shouldn't be used or have been sitting in storage for decades. They should be factory sealed, as if they came off the shelf yesterday.
You can also give the gifts to charity or toy drives the next year.
Until then, keep them in your gift stash.
Of course, all these tips can also be applied to paying down debt or giving to charity.