Beginning now to think about the cash needed for next year's holiday expense is wise financial  planning. If you were to begin now putting away even $5 a week that would be $260 over a year's time to use toward next year's holiday expense.

Beginning now to think about the cash needed for next year's holiday expense is wise financial  planning. If you were to begin now putting away even $5 a week that would be $260 over a year's time to use toward next year's holiday expense.
"Paying yourself first is old, but still good advice," says Carol Young, financial management specialist with K-State Research and Extension. " Having holiday money available when the holiday arrives helps to take off some of the holiday pressures," she added.
Some banks may have small  holiday account programs available. If not, you could still set up a separate savings account which you and your family recognize as your extra holiday account or you could budget a portion of an existing savings account for holiday use only.
Comparing bank's rates of return is similar to comparing prices at a grocery store or supermarket. Young recommends only considering accounts insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
"A return of 2 to 3 percent may not seem like much. But, when paying with cash, rather than running up a balance on a credit card, the savings on interest (from 8 to 18 percent or more) and extra fees on a credit card can yield a great savings," she said.
One of the simplest ways to 'pay yourself first' is to set up an automatic transfer from a checking account to a savings account each payday. Simply set up an automatic savings deposit each pay period. You may not miss that ten dollars from each of your weekly earnings, but at the end of the year that extra $520 dollars will get your holiday shopping off to a good start.
Kansas Saves -a statewide, Extension supported savings program -teaches families how even small amounts of savings can add up to reap greater dividends over time. For example, gather up coins left lying around in a dish or in a drawer at home  and deposit into your interest-bearing account.
Cut back on one trip to the vending machine per day or one less cup of coffee and put that amount you would have spent aside into savings. You would be surprised how these fast your savings will add up.
Now is a good time to budget for next year's holiday expenses. While this year's expenses are fresh on your mind, write down how much was spent on each person on your holiday list. Make note of how you may want to cut back next year or how you may want to or need to add to that list for next year.
This will help you to know how much you want to put aside for holiday savings throughout this coming year.
More information on managing money, and on the Kansas Saves program, is available on the K-State Research and Extension Web site at: www.oznet.ksu.edu/financialmanagement.