I found this idea floating around Pinterest and thought I'd try my hand at it. Here's the original post I found about it, but the gist of it is that any time a $5 bill comes into your possession you put it aside and then once or twice a year you deposit the money into savings.
This would work great if I used all cash, but I use my credit card for everything. I know a lot of people suggest that you don't, but I use it to rack up points and I pay mine off each and every month. The points I save up I then redeem them in for gift cards that then get handed out as Christmas presents. I'm not suggesting you go the credit card route if you have issues with over-spending because obviously you have to have some self-control. Also, this method helps me to build up credit. I've been super lucky and have never had to pull out a loan so I really have no credit. Now, with my credit card spending and paying off monthly my credit score is within eighty points of a perfect credit score (850).
The system works good for me and the money I save with my $5 bills will also be used for Christmas presents. So, basically, in theory all of the Christmas presents will be paid for come Christmas time! It worked fairly well this past year so I'm hopeful that 2013 will work just as smooth. Oh, another way I spread out the Christmas spending budget is to slowly order gifts earlier in the year. You've got 12 months so if you order at least one gift per month you'll have 12 people that you've shopped for but the amount you budgeted for them will seem like a lost less come Christmas time!
Plus, if you watch for good deals you'll be surprised how much you can save. I've got a wrapping station in my craft room so when I buy their present I just wrap it right away and set it aside. Then I stick a sticky-note on the bottom of the wrapped present to remind me what the items are. (just don't forget to pull the sticky off come Christmas time!) I also have an excel spreadsheet that I use to keep track of who I've bought what for and how much I've spent on everyone.
So, how much did I save in that five months? Drum roll please..... I saved a total of almost $200! Yes, not much but to deposit it into a savings account feels kind of nice. My plan is to deposit this amount twice a year into my savings and pull out ONLY when I'm buying Christmas presents.
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