The sneaky way I pay for Christmas gifts.

new-five-dollar-bill

There are millions of ways to sock a little money away to help ease the financial strain Christmas can do to your budget. I have tried several methods over the years from buying things I think I will be able to gift all year long to special short term savings accounts (usually found at credit unions) and even buying gift cards that I thought I’d use to buy gifts when the time came- all with unsatisfactory results. I’ve had plastic storage containers full of good intentions, gift cards I eventually paid for groceries with and not much to show for the money I was able to squirrel away between October and mid December.

So two years ago I came across a method that really changed things for me: The $5 Savings Plan! It’s so simple and I was thrilled by what I was able to save by not spending any $5 bill that came into my possession from about October 1 thru mid December. Last year I saved about $700 in $5 bills. A couple days before Christmas I handed my husband a few hundred dollars for he and the kids to go shopping with so that my gifts would truly be a surprise. Since I am the primary bookkeeper it’s very difficult for my husband to purchase things for me without me already knowing what he bought me just by seeing the charges. That’s not fun for either of us!

The whole family gets into the $5 Savings Plan. We almost treat it as a game. I have an empty cheese ball container washed and labeled that we stuff with the $5 bills we receive when we get change from our regular purchases like the inevitable fast food run between practices or after games. Keeping our stash visible is both exciting to see and motivating to save more. I was so proud when the kids started handing me their $5’s ( money left over from their allowance.) They’re proud to be contributing and I’m proud to have such awesome kids!

Do you have any tricks to help you pay for Christmas? Have you tried the $5 Savings Plan? I would love to hear what works for you!

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