Saving Money During The Recession
Imagine discovering that on November 1st, your credit union transferred $600 into your checking account.
No, it isn’t a gift from the credit union. It’s the money you’ve been putting aside all year in anticipation of holiday gift shopping. In this particular instance, you were depositing $50 a month into your Santa Saver Account.
Unfortunately, many families this year will be unable to buy their usual number of Christmas gifts for family and friends. And some will have to forgo holiday gift shopping altogether. Others will go further into debt using their credit cards to purchase gifts.
Such disappointment could have been prevented had these folks simply set aside some money each month into a special account designated exclusively for holiday gift buying.
I was reminded of this the other day when my monthly checking statement arrived from my local credit union. Along with my statement, the marketing folks at the credit union included a statement insert promoting its Santa Saver Account.
Christmas Club accounts were very popular when I was a youngster in the 1950s. To this day I remember our weekly Saturday morning trips to the local bank where I would deposit my one dollar in change to my own account – knowing that in November I’d have $50 available for Christmas shopping. For a young child in the 50s, $50 was a lot of money.
As the years went by, Christmas Club accounts went the way of 8-track tapes and hula hoops. Banks and credit unions didn’t want to be bothered by low-balance savings accounts.
Then, a few years ago these wonderful accounts started finding their way back into a few financial institutions’ product lines.
If your bank or credit union doesn’t offer such an account, now would be an ideal time to introduce one. Consumers are busy paying down their debt load while, at the same time, trying to save money. The holiday season serves as a stark reminder of the benefits of putting aside money all year in anticipation of holiday gift shopping.
And the most effective way to accomplish this approach to saving is a special account dedicated solely for one purpose…in this case, gift shopping.
Having carefully studied my credit union’s statement insert, it occurred to me that the marketing folks had overlooked a positioning opportunity for their Santa Saver Account.
Had I been on the creative team behind this insert, I would have suggested we position it as an excellent holiday gift for children and grandchildren. We would have designed a branded Santa Saver Account calendar or booklet to be used by those customers giving the account as a gift.
Along with a book, toy, computer game, or other tangible gift, your customers could open one or more Santa Saver Accounts – one for each child – and present them with their own, personalized Santa Saver calendar or booklet where they could track your weekly or monthly deposits in their name.
Such a gift-giving program would help instill a savings ethic in young children with the payoff coming in November of each year as the accumulated balance is handed over to an excited young boy or girl.
It’s a giant “win” for the bank or credit union as you are helping parents and grandparents do something wonderful for young children. And, these young children grow up fondly remembering the name of the bank or credit union that provided the special holiday savings account.
Again, now is the perfect time to introduce a holiday savings account if your financial institution isn’t already offering one.