I hate to say the C word so early but you all know that every December the C word comes around (if you celebrate) and costs most households a fortune. I like to plan ahead for the most expensive month of the year by saving points and socking away money bit by bit throughout the year. If you have read this blog for any length of time you understand I am a saver of both cash and points.
I have one checking account and one savings account (not including retirement savings). The checking is used for paychecks and bill paying. The savings account is one figure that is comprised of many different funds. The travel fund, the house fund which pays for things that break down or maintenance/appliance purchases, the medical fund as we pay as we go for everything other than basic healthcare, the big bill fund which pays for house taxes and house and car insurance and the Christmas fund. If a new need crops up that needs saving for I just make another column on the sheet and add it in. Yes, all of this is manually recorded on a piece of paper. That way it is relatively easy to keep track. If we run into trouble or low in one fund I can choose to borrow from another fund, although I rarely do that. Sometimes we end up paying for things out of our regular paychecks but if we need to tap a fund it is there for us.
We are on month seven of the year and the cash Christmas fund stands at $660. The goal is usually $1000 but this year I have to up that a bit to also pay for some travel expenses as we can't stay with my stepson as he has moved to a much smaller apartment. That is for all extra expenses related to Christmas including gifts and travel expenses and anything else that crops up. We have one free hotel night from hubby's corporate travel so that will be saved for our trip to Alberta in December which has already been booked on points since early June. We decided to go in early December this year so we could avoid the high traffic flight days, get air mile space and hubby could still do a day or two of business around our family visits. Now that the kids are all adults it is much easier to go earlier rather than so close to Christmas. If any of them want to come visit right at Christmas they are more than welcome to but I hate traveling in airports at that time.
Of that $660 most of it was saved from paychecks but $35.04 of that was saved from found money. What is found money? Two grocery rebates and a $20 check from a class action grocery lawsuit that was applied for a couple of years ago.
I also save up my grocery points and those tend to add up quickly in Canada where there is much less couponing but most grocery stores have jumped on the point bandwagon. Currently I have:
$40 PC Plus points
$85 Shoppers Drug Mart Points
$54.06 Amazon Gift Certificates from Swagbucks (I used a tiny bit for the rest of my fitbit)
$50 Amazon Gift Certificate from Angus Reid Polls
For a grand total of $660 cash and $229.06 in gift certificates/points that can be used like cash.
Not too shabby for being just over halfway in the year! Do you save ahead for C day?