It’s that time of year again! Time to start focusing on a Christmas budget and putting some money aside for the holidays. As October fades away and November takes over, the days tick by like clockwork and you need to get rolling on your financial Christmas planning.
Christmas planning tips
Here are some tips that you can put into action now to get organized and started early.
1. It’s never too early to start shopping
The great thing about starting Christmas shopping early is you will beat the crowds. You will be able to do more shopping in half the time because there will not any line-ups or crowds to handle. You will also have an easier time finding parking and your whole shopping experience will be easier to get through.
You will probably find some great deals on leftover stock. This stock needs to be cleared to fill the shelves with new merchandise arrivals for Christmas. New items for Christmas will have higher markups so you will walk away with some great bargains by shopping early.
Don’t forget to start stocking up on food as well. If you buy your frozen goods ahead of time you will not have to worry about the Christmas rush at grocery stores. Anything you can do ahead of time will help take the stress off last-minute preparations.
2. Start saving now
It’s amazing to see how fast even small savings can add up. Don’t get into a negative mindset about how much you can put away – just get started! As you start saving you may want to consider looking for a way to increase your savings as you go along. Perhaps you can sell some old treasures you have lying around the house at a garage sale or on the Internet. You can also consider taking on a few odd jobs that could bring in a little spare cash for Christmas.
3. Set up a budget
It is a good idea to have a Christmas budget that you can work with so that you can stay on track for the next couple of months. If you need more decorations, a special outfit for a party and more food for visitors this should all be taken into account along with the expenses for gifts. Don’t forget to plan for unexpected expenses as well. If you have a little extra tucked away you’ll be able to relax more and enjoy the holidays the way they are meant to be enjoyed.
4. Set plan travel plans early
If you’re planning to go on a trip at Christmas make your bookings early and try to find a deal. Prices on airfare are only going to skyrocket as Christmas approaches so it is best to start looking around early for a flight at a decent price. Sometimes you can save some money by booking early so start looking now before time flies by.
5. Take some of the focus off of the gifts
In the true spirit of Christmas there are other things you can do to make the most of the holiday season. Plan on special activities you can do with your family and make it part of your gift. You may also want to consider volunteering some of your time to others that are not as fortunate during this time of year. There is no better time to instill deep values in your children and set a good example.
6. Share Christmas goals
Talk to your family about what they can expect at Christmas according to your budget. Let your children know what you can afford so that they can make plans themselves for what they can ask for. Discuss Christmas with other adult family members and set a limit for spending for gifts. You might be surprised to find out that they also want to reduce their spending and you can find some really fun low-budget presents to give.
7. Spend some time at home
Celebrating can get very costly so plan on some home time to get caught up on things around the house and have some relaxing time with your family. This will help your budget by reducing spending and you’ll find that this quality time can be just as much fun as going out.
8. Make homemade presents
This can really take a load off the expenses at Christmas time. If you spend a day cooking and baking some special treats that you know are favourites you can save a lot of money. These gifts will not be any less appreciated than an expensive present that you really can’t afford and give reluctantly. Take a look at what you can offer as a homemade gift and start working on it early.
You can really make a homemade present very fancy by buying a basket and some ribbon at a dollar store. You can also purchase some dollar items that can be added to the basket to make it even that much more exciting. Purchasing affordable items at a dollar store that have been given some thought can make a lovely addition to any homemade present.
9. Make a list
Prepare a list of all the people you need to buy a gift for and place it on a wall in your house where it will be well noticed. This will keep Christmas shopping on your mind, and as you work towards scratching names off the list, it will become a game and your shopping will get done early. Sometimes early Christmas shopping can be planned and then forgotten about as Christmas approaches. This is a fast and easy way to keep it in focus so that it actually gets done.
It is never too early to plan for Christmas. Remember how you felt last year with the last minute Christmas rush and make sure it doesn’t happen again this year by doing some careful budgeting and planning.
Author Bio: This article was written by personal finance writer Timothy Ng from Sydney, Australia. He is genuinely passionate about helping people compare credit cards and helping them through researching to find the best credit card.