It’s hard to think about when we are dealing with heat and humidity and thinking about summer vacation, but we are only 6 months away from the hectic (and expensive) holiday season. Follow these tips to start preparing for the holidays now and save money (and reduce stress) this holiday season.
Make a gift shopping list
Before holiday madness sets in, make a list of all the family members and friends you intend to include on your gift shopping list. Your list is also a great place to jot down different ideas for each person. Don’t forget to stick to your list – this alone will save you some serious holiday cash!
Set your budget
A key to saving money during the holiday season is setting your budget. First, determine your total spending based on your list. Once you determine your total spending, you can plan out your spending per person on your list, as well as how much you intend to spend per month between now and December on holiday gifts. Be sure to keep in mind other monthly extra expenses, like family birthdays, graduations, and weddings and plan your spending accordingly.
Look for deals
Certain product sales happen at certain times of the year. Why not match up your gift giving list and ideas with its corresponding sale? Not only will you get your gift list completed well before the holidays, you’ll save major bucks! Check out the list at Consumer Reports.
Set a deadline
The key to success with saving is setting a deadline. If you set a deadline to have holiday shopping complete, you will avoid the panic and desperation that sets in as the holidays creep up on you. If you’re thoughtful and strategic about your purchases, you’ll get the best deals, make thoughtful decisions and subsequently save money.
Assign a gift hiding location
Be sure to choose a great hiding spot in your home to stash the gifts you purchase early – and be sure you remember where it is! You don’t want to be scrambling on Christmas Eve to find the gift that you know you bought but can’t remember where you hid it. Forgetfulness will equal panic, which will lead to another purchase after your deadline!
Take advantage of after-Christmas sales
Use this year’s after-Christmas sales as an opportunity to start planning ahead for a full 12 months for Christmas 2018. After-Christmas sales are a great way to save on overstocked and big ticket items that may have been out of budget for this year, but may be perfect for next year. In addition, you can stock up on other items you’ll need for the holidays, like wrapping paper, holiday decorations and serving items for holiday celebrations.
You can also use the extra time (and your revised plan and budget for Christmas 2018) to set up a Christmas savings account and can start stashing away money early in the year to spend during the last half of the year. Check out our Christmas Club account, as well as other great accounts that can help you save throughout the year.