It’s the end of June and we’re officially 6 months out from the holidays. Why am I talking about them now? Did I see the first Christmas commercial of the year? (Ha, kidding. But seriously – can we finish one holiday before starting the next? Cripes.)
I know you’re thinking, geez, I have PLENTY of time to deal with that. Besides, I don’t have the cash to deal with it now. Well, remember back in January when you were like – summer’s sooo far away! Remember? Um hum. That’s what I thought. The year is flying, and before you know it, the holidays will be here.
Why I’ve Started Holiday Shopping Already
This year I’ve decided to start shopping early – and when I say early, I mean in June. Yes, June. Why? Because I’m tired of scrambling for gifts that no one really wants at the last minute and struggling to stay in budget because I have to find something NOW. This year I’m going to put my financial organizational skills to use and start extremely early. Here’s why you should start planning and shopping for the holidays now:
You can budget and spend a small amount every month versus one large, painful chunk at the end of the year.
One place I personally mess my budget up is not creating a line item for gifts, holidays, etc. Figuring out our Christmas budget early and divvying it up over the next six months will not only be a smaller hit financially, but we’ll avoid using credit cards and paying interest. Double win! Imagine if you started this in January, the amount set aside every month would be even smaller, and you’d probably barely notice it.
Save More Money by Shopping Sales
The beauty of this method is that you don’t necessarily have to know what you want to get everyone. Just make your list and keep an eye on the sales. By shopping throughout the year, you’ll catch sales on things that you know they’ll want, instead of being forced to pay full price at the end of the year. I know you’re thinking – but what about Black Friday? And all those crazy sales? Hey, if you know for a fact that a gift you want to purchase is going to go on sale on Black Friday, by all means, save up and purchase it with cash money on Black Friday. There are a ton of sites out there that track what’s going to be on sale during Black Friday weekend that you can scour. However, if you’re not sure, don’t take the gamble and end up paying full price in a rush at the end of the year.
More Time to Find Gifts They’ll Actually Love
Starting early means I can keep an eye out for things that I know my in-laws will like. It’s always a struggle to figure out what to get them, and I absolutely hate the idea of giving something to someone that they don’t want. Plus, the gift card route, while easy, isn’t always the best idea either. Over 2 billion (that’s BILLION, with a B!) dollars of unused gift cards are wasted every year. Ouch. And no one over the age of 8 can get away with the “One Free Hug” coupon, amiright?
More Time for Holiday and Family Activities
The holidays are a time of get togethers, travel, cookie baking, and a million other activities. Imagine actually being about to – gasp! – participate AND enjoy them. Fully. Are you picturing it? Imagine not having the stress of figuring out which credit card to use, what to get, and how much to spend. It’s all been taken care of by your responsible self back in June. I can guarantee that not only will you be patting yourself on the back, but your spouse and/or kids will be so very glad that you’re there, present, and actually enjoying time with them.
So Much Less Stress
Our lives are overbooked as it is, and throwing the holidays in is a crap ton of icing on the cake. Why do we do this to ourselves? Seriously. Don’t buy into the “Oh, but shopping’s part of the holidays” BS. Guess what? If that’s what you want to do, have at it – but once again, budget that separately and make sure any shopping you do at that point is in addition to what you actually need. Make sure it’s shopping for pleasure, not out of pressure to find something.
Let’s face it – unless you’re some sort of glutton for punishment, boxing yourself into shopping for all your holiday purchases in a 3 to 4 week time span is just painful. Make a plan to start earlier, finish earlier, and actually get a chance to sip that eggnog you whipped up and enjoy your holidays this year.
Have you started your holiday shopping yet? If so, have you found any great deals?
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