Anyone remember the old Christmas Club savings accounts? I wonder why the banks quit with those? I suppose, with credit cards becoming so prevalent that savings accounts were rendered fairly useless. You can spend now and pay later, as opposed to save now and spend later.
Well, I learned my lesson with credit cards (the hard way, natch). Now, our "credit" card is actually a check card, backed by our checking account. Meaning, if we don't have the money, we don't buy it.
We do have a Sears card, we got when the refrigerator went out. Luckily it went out during an 18-month-same-as-cash promotion so I made sure we got it paid off and didn't have to pay any interest.
We've kept it for buying other bigger ticket items like our riding lawnmower and TV during different no-interest promos, and my dishwasher I bought during a 5% off if you use your Sears card promo, then turned around and paid the bill off with my tax refund before it was due, so no interest!
We haven't paid Sears one red cent in interest or fees in the several years we've had the card.
(Not bragging - just pointing out that if we can do this, anyone can.)
Anyway. This past Christmas seemed harder on me than it's been for awhile. I was trying to think about why that was.
The couple of previous years I was heavy into the coupon/deal shopping, getting stuff free, making profit, buying Rebate items, etc.
Prior to that I think we were still doing better financially. Once upon a time my husband got raises at work, gas was affordable, out health insurance premiums hadn't increased while our benefits decreased.
Before that, eBay wasn't yet ruined by greedy idiots and was still a great place to sell and shop. I remember one year I sold enough to fund my (3) kids entire Christmas, plus I bought my kids and my niece and 2 nephews Gameboy systems with case, games, and other accessories.
Well, this past year I hadn't been doing much coupon shopping, our income barely covers our expenses, and I can't sell my junk. Which left me pretty hard up and scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to buy the gifts I wanted to buy.
So I decided it would be easier if I started myself my own "Christmas Club", saving through the year. Like a pre-paid lay-a-way, but not at one certain store.
Rather than a certain amount per week, I decided on $20 per paycheck. $20.00 isn't much these days, we won't even miss it, but it'll add up and hopefully make life easier at the end of the year.
I don't know how much we'll end up with, so far J's gotten (8) paychecks since Christmas (remember, he works up to 3 jobs), but sometimes he doesn't always get shifts at the ambulance service, and we already know he's only been scheduled to work (2) days at the Urgent Care for this whole month (suuuuux).
But every little bit will help to make it a little easier for me at Christmas.