Christmas in August: Plan Early to Save Money
In the middle of hot summer, barbeques and swimming pools, it’s not too early to think about Christmas. Once you’ve spent your money for back to school items, the next big expense is Christmas gifts. If you plan early, you can save money on your holiday shopping.
First, you want to make a list of everyone you have to buy for. Include any ideas you already have for gifts. Put this list in a place you’ll remember but no one else can find. I keep mine on my computer in a file that’s password protected.
If you like to do crafts, it’s time to start on those projects. And if you don’t consider yourself creative, there are options for you. You can make scrapbooks or photo albums from the internet. There are websites where you can create the images you want without having to do any craftwork. It’s still personalized and unique. Walgreens photo service is one place where you can upload your photos and write your own captions and they print out a hardback book and mail it to you. This makes a great gift for grandparents or other family who live too far away to visit often. You will need to start the project early if you don’t have any recent photos.
What about all of those parties your friends invite you to? From Pampered Chef to Park Lane jewelry to Mary Kay, you can often find a gift for someone on your list at one of those parties. I have a bad habit of going to those parties and buying something for myself that I don’t need because my friend gets a reward. Then I end up wishing I hadn’t spent the money on something I’ll never use. Having a Christmas list early in the year reminds me to think of others when I go to those parties and get my shopping done ahead of time.
Besides the hostess parties, there are also the school fundraisers where kids ask you to buy something like magazines or boxes of candy. Those can make good gifts, too.
Craft fairs and festivals are great places to find unique, handmade gifts and are often held in the spring and fall. A friend of mine is really hard to buy for but she loves one-of-a-kind gifts so I always get her gift at one of the craft fairs in the fall. Besides saving me money, it prevents the stress of last-minute shopping to find some generic present.
Planning ahead can take away a lot of the stress that comes with the holidays. It will give you more money and more time to spend with your family. And you can buy gifts that truly have meaning to the person instead of something you ended up getting after hours of frustrated shopping. That will put the joy back in the holiday season.