There are officially 100 days until Christmas, or as some like to call it, ‘the most
wonderful expensive time of the year!”
Although it may seem early to start thinking about Christmas, now is definitely the time to start mapping out your holiday game plan. Waiting too long to get started won’t only leave you stressed, it could leave your wallet empty, and that’s no way to enter a new year! If you want to avoid getting your tinsel in a tangle this holiday season, try implementing these five tips:
1.) Make a list of everyone you’d like to give a gift to this year. Keep this list in your phone so that you can make a note of the gifts you pick up for people as you get them and monitor who you still haven’t bought anything for. While there are definitely deals to be had on Black Friday, if you keep an eye out for big sales over the next 100 days, you may find even greater savings. Check the clearance section of your favorite stores for great deals on things you know your friends and family would love. You’ll find you may be able to get your loved ones gifts that are twice as nice and usually out of your price range, if you hadn’t found them on sale.
“75% off of Kitchen Aid Mixers? Mom would love that and according to my list, I still need to get her something!” Thinking ahead can really pay off!
2.) Book your travel NOW. Waiting until the last minute, while tempting, can be detrimental. Travel expenses like hotels and flights can eat up a big portion of your holiday budget if you’re not careful. Be smart and search around for good deals in advance so that you’ll have more cash to spend on fun activities, like eating out, when you’ve arrived at your destination. Southwest offers sales sporadically and you can find the best hotel deals by searching sites like Orbitz.
3.) Take ten. Or twenty. It doesn’t matter what amount you choose, but commit to set aside a certain dollar amount each week leading up until your holiday vacation. Save it where you won’t be tempted to spend it. Keeping your holiday savings in your checking account, for example, can make it too easily accessible in a moment of weakness.
4.) Get creative. Prioritize your gift list and start thinking about inexpensive, yet meaningful presents you can give friends and coworkers. Don’t feel obligated to buy something for everyone if your budget doesn’t allow. If you do want to buy something for someone, like a coworker, as a friendly gesture, keep it small. Unless you are close to a particular person, a large gift can make someone who is just an acquaintance feel uncomfortable. A large group treat, like homemade cookies, is always thoughtful and won’t leave the recipients feeling pressured to spend money they may not have on a gift for you.
5.) Take it online. Check out bargain sites like Groupon or LivingSocial to find discounts on restaurants and events in your area, or the area you will be visiting. If you’re going to eat out anyway, saving 50% here and there can really help fund your holiday savings account. You can also find great gifts, like a membership to the Zoo or Sam’s Club that are thoughtful and functional. You can also use social media to find coupons and catch sales at your favorite stores.