Ask Alanis


How do you rate?

Christmas Shopping! Glad it's over? If you had to evaluate how you did this Christmas Season, how would you rate yourself? Would you say you planned well and had plenty of time to shop and the funds to do it? Would you say it went smoothly, didn't have to rush a thing and did not have to use credit cards? Or would you rate yourself as most would by saying you ended up running around frantically, overspent and utilized those credit cards more than you would like to admit? What if I said there was a way to avoid that this coming year…would you do it? Here's your chance!

Here's the plan

You may have heard of this, maybe your Mom even used this as a tool BUT it doesn't mean it wouldn't work for YOU! Yes, the Christmas Club Account. Before you discount the idea, just think, let's say November rolled around and someone gave you exactly what you needed for Christmas shopping, wouldn't that be fantastic? You can actually give yourself that gift and if you start now, you may not even notice the bits put away during the year and will most definitely be thrilled when you have the cash to support your Christmas.

Let's break it down

According to the American Consumer Credit Council, the average American spends approximately $900 on Christmas gifts each year. Let's do the math. Let's say you start this month, a mere $75 a month could support your Christmas without having to touch a credit card. Too much for you, well, let's put it this way. If you get paid twice each month, that's only $37.50 a pay check – that's less than taking your family out to eat once! When you really think about it, you wouldn't miss it and you would greatly benefit from the discipline. And if you see yourself spending less, you can put away less or you can plan to have a little wiggle room and maybe treat yourself to one of the Christmas sales when you've completed your gift shopping.

I'm not disciplined

No need for excuses, this account will work for both the disciplined saver and not so disciplined saver. If you already have a bank account, you can get the amounts for your Christmas Club Account automatically transferred so you don't forget to make a payment and you won't be tempted not to.

The trick!

Here's the trick to minimal savings, start now! The sooner you start, the less you have to put away each month in order to meet your savings goal. My fellow procrastinators, it's time to get moving and just so you don't feel alone, I'm starting the trend today.

Happy New Year,