Saving for the Holidays the easy way

DSCF1401It seems like time goes faster every year, especially when you have kids. It’s already September, which is prime time to start getting ready for the holiday season! I know, I know, it may seem early. But trust me when I say the more preparation you have, the less stress you’ll end up experiencing later.

Actually in an ideal situation, planning for the Holidays should start in January – this is what I do and planning a year in advance can save you a lot of money and stress later. I’ve seen so many people get ┬áthemselves into a tizzy about affording all the food and gifts and a couple of friends have mine have even gotten into serious debt, which is completely unnecessary.

We all know when Thanksgiving is right? Christmas is the same time every year, correct?┬áThese things don’t come as a surprise to us and yet some people act like they had no idea it was coming! Getting some extra cash for Christmas can be tricky when it’s just a few months away but if you plan a year in advance, you have 12 months to put some money aside. This is what I do – I set a budget every year for the holiday season (setting a budget also helps stop you going overboard on gifts!) and then divide the total by 12 so I know what I need to save each month. By the time we get to Thanksgiving, I already have a nice chunk of cash ready and I don’t worry about spending it!

Shopping in January is also an excellent way to save yourself a lot of money. You can buy gifts, decorations and seasonal food at bargain basement prices after New Year and so it’s a great time to stock up for the following year. Of course fresh food won’t last a year! But anything that will go in the deep freeze can be bought in January and used later in the year (I’ve gotten some great deals on joints of meat in January!)

of course the best way to save is to avoid over spending in the first place! It’s easy to go over the top, especially if you live in a neighborhood where everyone seems to compete with each other to have the best dressed house, but there are lots of ways you can decorate on a budget.

I’ve found getting the kids involved with making decorations is not only a great way to save money but also is a lot of fun for them and me too. We like doing things like dyeing popcorn and stringing it into garlands and making paper chains. I also get them to help out with some more complex projects like the ones on the Martha Stewart website.

If you plan in advance, saving for the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful, in fact it can be quite fun! If you love Christmas as much as me, it’s almost like a little reminder of the holiday season every month!

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