It’s Never Too Early to Start Christmas Planning
It seems as soon as it gets hot, we’re starting to think about when it will get cold again. It may be breaking 90 outside, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that winter and the holiday season are so far away. After all, only six short months ago, it was the end of the holiday season. If you were one of the people trying to get back on track then, maybe now is the time to start saving for this year!
Make a plan.
Start thinking now about who you want to buy presents for, and what the budget will be. Thinking ahead will help you budget better, but will also give you more time to remember people, preventing last minute panic when the holiday season hits. Assign each person a dollar amount you will spend, and either begin saving or stockpiling. Just remember to track the spending!
Don’t forget to budget for DIYs.
Homemade gifts will definitely save you some money, but they’re still an expense that needs to be accounted for. If you have a lot of people on your list—all your coworkers for example—and you want to make them each a tin of cookies, you’ll need to budget for the tins and all of the ingredients. Be careful not to associate DIY with “free.”
There’s nothing that says you must wait until the first snow falls or holiday magic is in the air to start shopping. Go ahead and start buying now. It will break up your spending, plus there’s an added bonus of less time in crowds when the most wonderful time of the year actually does come around.
Set up automatic transfers.
If you’re not keen on doing your shopping early, or aren’t sure what you’re going to need yet, you can just use this time to start saving. Set up automatic transfers into a savings account, and remove the money from your sight before you even have a chance to use it. Another option is to find and fund an account specific to holiday or Christmas savings, like CommunityAmerica’s Holiday Account will keep your money saved and outside of your reach until the holiday season.
Next week marks Christmas in July, the six month mark to the holiday season. Start saving now and give yourself the greatest holiday gift of all: peace!
Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.