Christmas in July

Holiday shopping may be the farthest thing on your mind but we are less than 5 months away!  It’s never too early to budget and start your shopping.  Most consumers leave it to the last minute and end up spending too much in a one or two week period in December.  Why wait? Nowadays, stroll into any shop and you will find something on sale.  Sadly, too many retailers are struggling to stay afloat and many have had to close their doors due to the financial pressures of Covid-19.  We all want to see local retailers survive and we all love to save money. It’s a win win situation!

Begin with an overall budget (your plan). Review your November/December credit card statements or bank statements to determine what you spent last year.  Come up with a grand spending total.  Next, categorize all items you expect to buy and set limits next to each item. For example, gifts, groceries, wine, and donations.  Make a gift list for each person with a specific dollar amount. Stick to it! Once bought, cross people off your list and do not continue to shop for them.   

Consider buying seasonal summer items which will be the most reduced to clear shelves. Check out “store closing” sales or online deals with free shipping.  This may also be a great opportunity to cash in gift cards you received and double the savings!  

Consider using dormant reward points to buy gifts or gift cards. Just be wise. Depending on how this pandemic plays out, some retailers may not be around to honor those gift cards in the future.    

Planning for the holidays take the stress out that time of year and gives us something to look forward to. Right about now we all could use that.