The common joke about Christmas is that the day after Thanksgiving is when everyone in America remembers that it’s happening. While that’s a humorous way to reference the collective craze that seems to overcome shoppers on Black Friday, it’s actually possible to get a head start on Christmas just by knowing that it comes at the same time every year. From budgeting tips to ways to find the best deals on decorations, here are a few tips to get a head start on Christmas today.
Budget for Christmas each month
One of the easiest ways to avoid the financial stress that comes each Christmas is to think of the holiday as a monthly expense, just like your utilities, groceries, or mortgage. Breaking large expenses into smaller chunks makes saving for anything much more manageable, because the overall cost gets spread across 12 months instead of shoehorned into the months of November and December. For example, imagine that your budget for Christmas gifts this year is $800. If you need to come up with that money in just two months, you’ll be bending over backwards to squeeze out $400 extra each month. If you’d approached your gift budget by saving monthly, however, you only would need to come up with a little more than $66, which is far more manageable.
Buy decor far in advance
Although it seems wild, the best time to buy decorations for Christmas is the month after the holiday has past. You’ll want to double-check that the items you’re buying on clearance aren’t damaged and are still in good condition, but this can be one of the easiest ways to save money on decor for your next Christmas party. Up until August or September is still a better time to buy decorations than in November or December, though. Plenty of specialty Christmas designers offer discounts and deals throughout the year to remain in business, making it easy to make your Christmas dreams a reality. Everything from trees to LED lights and garland is on sale up until about October, which gives you the chance to take advantage of buy-one-get-one-free sales and extra savings for signing up for an online retailer’s newsletter.
Monitor big ticket gifts for price spikes
While it’d be nice to believe that any item advertised on sale is truly being sold at a discount, some businesses have a habit of slowly hiking up the price of a big ticket item before the holiday season begins, only to mark it down to its MSRP later. Many websites can help you track price history from major retailers to ensure you don’t fall for this ploy.
If you can’t find a tool to help you determine whether or not a price is being manipulated, you can just continually visit a website to monitor prices and coupons at least a few weeks in advance of your deciding to make a purchase. You can also cross-reference deals on websites like eBay with other retailers to see how quickly things are selling at a certain price point. This even works with collectible items such as action figures, which can be researched more in depth at a website like Toy Titanz, rather than trying to win an online auction.
The holidays have a reputation for making everyone feel a little more on edge. With increased travel times, time spent with extended family, and costly celebrations, it’s safe to say that most people are looking for a way to stay ahead of the Christmas season. By keeping the above tips and tricks in mind, you’ll be able to take control of the holiday season. You’ll find plenty of room for making your Christmas merry and bright when you’re facing less stress.