There’s no need to put that holiday spending on credit cards this December. With a little planning, you can have a debt-free and stress-free holiday season if you start saving today.

1. Save a weekly amount with automated withdrawals. 

A good way to start is to open a separate savings account with your credit union or bank just for holiday spending. If you auto withdrawal $50 weekly into a holiday savings account from now until the first week of December, you’ll have $1,200 cash to spend on holiday gifts, food, entertaining guests and other holiday costs. Even $25 a week will give you $600 by December - any weekly amount will make a difference.

2. Look for great gifts now.

Camping gear, sweatshirts, golf clubs, bikes, that expensive grill that your hubby has his eye on, these are all on sale in July and August and would make great holiday gifts. Just make sure you have a safe place to hide them until the holidays! Check the sale racks at your favorite stores or take a look at “What to buy every month in 2021” guide from our friends at NerdWallet

3. Confirm your travel plans now.

The pandemic kept many from traveling for the holidays last year, so you can bet it will be a very busy travel year as people make up for lost time. If you’re planning to visit family over the holiday season, plan your dates now . This will allow you to set up travel alerts, so you can get better deals on airfare, car rentals and hotels.
If you have family coming to visit you, stock up on towels, pillows, toilet paper and other guest needs every time you visit the store so it’s not an added holiday expense in December.

4. Have a digital garage sale.

Facebook Marketplace, ebay, and Poshmark are great digital places to unload items that are in good condition. For heavier items like furniture, bikes and toys use Facebook Marketplace to avoid shipping. For clothing, kid items or general lighter items, ebay is a good option. For luxury and high-end name brand items, use Poshmark.

You may not have time to host an entire garage sale, but go through your house and collect unneeded items, take good pictures, list a few details along with a reasonable price and deposit your earnings into your Holiday Savings account.