Do you throw a Christmas-style celebration in the summer? Watch the Christmas-themed movies on the Hallmark Channel? Shop for low-priced holiday decorations? These can be a fun way to celebrate family and friends while the weather is actually nice.
July is a great time to plan for the December holidays, too. If you’ve ever suffered from a holiday money hangover once January hit and the credit card bills started coming in, try setting funds aside now to make the holidays affordable and make January a lot more relaxing.
Here are some effective strategies.
Sell your unused items. Summer is prime time for garage and yard sales, so it’s the perfect season to get rid of those unused items in good condition around the house. You know, the clothes the kids have outgrown, the old toys for both kids and adults, and the appliances you’re just not using.
And maybe you do this every summer. But what makes it different this year is that you’ll save the proceeds of the garage sale to use for your winter holiday celebrations.
Not a fan of the garage sale? No problem. Use Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Letgo, or Craigslist to sell each item or lot. Do it on your schedule instead of losing a whole weekend to a sale.
Stop buying stuff. Most of us could take a break from shopping for unnecessary items for a month or two with no ill effects. We’re not talking food (although dinner out could be cut or curtailed as part of a spending hiatus) or other necessities, just the recreational shopping you may engage in.
Look at your typical discretionary spending and put that money into your savings account rather than buying more things to sell next summer because you haven’t used them.
Don’t wait until December to shop. See a great back-to-school deal on office supplies that would positively delight the crafter in your life? Or a new winter jacket that would thrill your sister while you’re buying the new school clothes for the kids? Buy it now, and save it for the holidays. You can take advantage of sales and spread your spending over time if you buy something when it’s cheaper, rather than embarking on a big shopping spree in December.
One tip to make sure this works, though, is to keep a running list of who you need to buy gifts for and what you’ve bought. Otherwise, you might tuck those perfect gifts away and forget all about them — or buy three perfect gifts for one person but none for another.
Open a Christmas Club account. If you start saving now, you’ll find that your holiday pending is a breeze, and you won’t have to bust out the credit cards for your gifts. You can choose a dedicated Christmas Club account that pays out around the holidays, or just use a secondary savings account. Set one up online or give us a call at 800-722-2936 for more information.
With a little planning now, you can make your holidays less financially stressful. That way, you can enjoy the season without worrying about what it’ll take to pay for everything.