Five Tips to Help You Take Care of Christmas in July

The holiday season often seems to come out of nowhere, carrying the momentum of a run away freight train, and can create a hectic and stressful fall season. Trying to take care of holiday shopping while balancing family and work commitments is one of the main reasons the season can seem so stressful. Fortunately, with a little foresight and planning, not only can much of your holiday shopping be completed earlier in the year, you can also save money in the process. Here are five tips that can help easy the burdens of the holiday season, while also helping you provide the Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa your family deserves.

Start Saving Early

Part of the stress that goes along with the holidays comes from families already on a tight budget trying to find ways to pay for gifts. While it might be easier to reduce the number of people you buy for each year, some people have a hard time leaving coworkers and distant relatives off the gift list. Starting a separate savings account offers you the ability to start putting money away for the holidays well in advance of the season, and gives you a concrete budget in which to work with. Opening a second account also allows you to keep your holiday funds separate from your daily finances so you can keep track of exactly how much money you have saved, and whether or not your current pace will allow you to meet your holiday goals. Keep in mind, the earlier you start a second savings account, the more money you will have to spend throughout the course of the year.

Shopping Season Lasts All Year

Despite the overwhelming number of sales businesses conduct during the holiday season, the best sales of the year can often occur well before the calendar approaches December. Fourth of July blowouts, back to school sales, and season ending closeouts all offer you a chance to save on holiday gifts well before it’s time to break out the heavy coats of winter. Even though shopping is probably far down on your list of things to do right after the holidays are over, many stores look to clear out excess inventory by holding New Year’s Day sales and offer discounts on items all throughout January. Taking advantage of non-holiday sales can reduce the number of items you need to purchase once the stores begin filling with desperate bargain hunters, while also allowing you to take advantage of offers that might be available in the Fall.

Craftwork

Some of the most cherished holidays gifts a person can receive are the ones made, not bought. If you possess a crafty talent, consider saving some money by making a few beautiful handmade scarves, candles, quilts, bath soaps, or other artisan items for the upcoming holiday season. These types of items often get overlooked as gifts because they require so much time to make. Fortunately, by prioritizing the holidays as a year round event, and not something to take care off once the Halloween costumes have been stored away, you can start working on creating these item early in the year when you have the available time.

Embrace Your Inner Vulture

An unfortunate effect of the nation’s fledgling economy is that many businesses are being forced to move to smaller locations or they’re forced to close altogether. While Americans everywhere hope for the reversal of this trend, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of a business needing to reduce inventory or sell of what it has on hand. You can receive unbelievable discounts that reach 70 to 80 percent off at some of these types of sales, which can really help stretch your holiday budget.

Summer Love’n

While garage, yard, and estate sales happen nearly year round, the majority of these types of sales occur during the warm summer months. Spend five minutes talking to a dedicated garage sale shopper, and you are bound to hear more than one story about an unbelievable item they found for practically nothing. After all, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Garage and estate sales are also great places to pickup the types of little knickknacks that always seem to find their way onto the counter tops and into the nooks of grandma’s house, but at a fraction of the cost of buying new.

Timothy Lemke blogs about shopping and home improvement for the Portland home staging firm, Tiffany Home Design.


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