Even though Christmas comes but once time a year, it’s a big expense. That’s why I’m excited to share what I think is the best way to save for Christmas in partnership with Sears Mastercard.
I used to really not like Christmas, but it’s grown on me a lot since having my own children. And, like my husband, I want to make it magical for our kids. It’s the one time of year that I want to give them all-the-things. I want to spoil them rotten because I love them and I don’t spoil them hardly at all during the year. But this seasonal desire clashes hard with my ever-present frugal inner self who hates spending money, hates going into debt, hates the materialism, hates that I want to spend money on stuff my kids don’t really need or even want.
And I want to spoil my husband too. And friends and neighbors. And everyone. Christmas makes you want to give. A lot.
The problem with the Christmas season is that it is so expensive! As a family of six, there’s a lot of presents to procure and a lot of Christmas money needed. And, my husband is still in school, earning a PhD so we have to really budget for tuition, books, and life. We don’t suddenly have a few extra hundred dollars during the Christmas season to spend on each other, other family members, friends, neighbors, or even random strangers, as much as we’d love to be in a financial position to do so.
But, like last year, we’re being smart during the year to help us afford Christmas without having to charge credit cards (or if we do with being able to pay them off right away). The best part is that we don’t even have to open a special Christmas savings account or really do anything particularly special in order to have money for Christmas.
Best Way to Save for Christmas with the Least Amount of Effort
The premise of our system to save up for Christmas is simple: we bank cash back rewards earned during the year through regular use of coupons, apps, promotions, and reward credit cards like the Sears Mastercard from Citibank and cash them out during Christmas time (November-January) to pay for all the gifts we buy, allowing us to keep our budget intact!
Last year through the use of various couponing phone apps, we managed to bank about $140 across the various accounts. We cashed them all out in December into gift cards or cash deposits to help us pay for presents.This year, I’m making it my goal to be even more diligent about submitting receipts and using these shopping apps every time I go grocery shopping, so we can accumulate even more money for Christmas by the end of the year. Those quarters and dollars really add up 0ver the course of a year!
When we shop online, we make sure we take advantage of any available cash back through shopping through various cash back websites.
In addition, when we shop at certain retailers who offer gift card promotions – where if you buy so many items, or spend so much money, you get a store gift card at checkout – instead of spending the gift cards the next we shop there, which is what we did last year, we are saving them! My friend shared that she did this and I thought it was genius! We already have two $5 gift cards saved this year.
And lastly, we use reward credit cards when we fill up with gas, go grocery shopping, and book travel expenses.
My husband has already attended two Math conferences this year and has another long-distance one later in the year. Plane tickets and hotel rooms are very expensive, so being able to receive cash back on those purchases is amazing, especially since his university is reimbursing him the travel costs!
The Sears Mastercard with Shop Your Way has amazing 5-3-2-1 reward rates that really add up over the course of a year, easily allowing you to save up for Christmas without even trying! You get 5% cash back in points on eligible purchases from gas stations, 3% back in points on eligible purchases at grocery stores and restaurants, 2% back in points on eligible purchases made at Sears and Kmart, and 1% back in points on all other eligible purchases.
If you are at all like my sister, she loves Black Friday shopping because it’s a great time to buy appliances and electronics for her home for very low prices! She loves taking advantage of those huge discounts. Using the Sears Mastercard throughout the year is a great way to save up for Christmas’ Black Friday Sales by simply charging what you already do all the time – fill your car up with gas, buy groceries, and eat out at restaurants.
While how much you can save for Christmas using these various methods will vary due to how frequently you shop and remember to take advantage of these programs, and on how much you intend to spend on Christmas presents and other holiday festivities, doing all of these things will help you come up with money for Christmas in the end.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sears Mastercard.