5 Tips to Budget for Christmas in July
We know that it’s July, and no one is eager to be reminded of snow and sludge. However, given that Americans spend an average of 2% of their income on Christmas gifts, Christmas is an important budgeting line item. By preparing early, your clients can celebrate the holidays without an unexpected financial Grinch.
- Make a Christmas list early, and shop year-round. By preparing your list early and shopping consistently, you can take advantage of seasonal sales throughout the year. In addition to targeting sales and increasing your savings, you can beat the maddening crowds during the holiday season.
- Have a post-Christmas shopping list. As mentioned in the first tip, many specific items benefit from seasonal sales. This is particularly true for Christmas items. Even if your next Christmas list isn’t complete by December 26th, you can stock up on wrapping paper, ornaments, and other stocking stuffers in preparation for the following year.
- Create a Christmas fund. Rather than dipping into your savings, create a specific stash for your gifts. A great resource for this reserve is your “under-budget” cash. If you come in under budget on monthly expenses, such as groceries or gas, you can save this surplus for Christmas gifts.
- Turn vacation savings into Christmas savings. Summer vacations are a great way to relax…and overspend. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to save without sacrificing family fun. By driving to your vacation spot, shopping for groceries instead of eating out, or opting for low-cost excursions, you can save some cash for Christmas.
- Plan to avoid hidden costs. From wrapping fees to photos with Santa, Christmas is full of costs beyond presents. If you can, plan! By making extensive lists of menus, gifts, and decorations, you will be able to weed out unnecessary expenses and stretch each dollar further.