Start Saving for Holiday Shopping Today

christmas_treeWhile I hold particular contempt for those retailers that begin to blast Christmas Carols through their stores in late October/early November, they do have a point.

They are encouraging you to shop early for the holiday season. While there is a great deal of wisdom to getting your shopping done early, there is even greater wisdom to beginning to accumulate savings for that holiday spending today. Like right now.

Time to Breathe, Time to Think

Instead of scrambling to grab whatever remains on the shelf, while letting your credit card work up a sweat doing last-minute holiday shopping, take some time now, well in advance to plan your holiday shopping.

Make a comprehensive list, including absolutely everyone you can think of, including teachers, bus drivers, coaches, neighbours etc. etc. that you might need to purchase a gift for. Then decide on a budget.

You can even jot down some gift ideas (or price range for each person).

Set to Save

So, you know roughly how much you will need come December. How does that break down by week or month right now?

Remember, you’ve not got loads of weeks prior to the holidays, so you may need to be aggressive in your savings- but do the best you can.  Either set up some kind of automatic savings, or set aside a little cash in a jar every week.

You’ll feel much better in January!

Take Time to Plan

This includes scouring sales and flyers now- not with an eye to an immediate purchase, but to buy now for holiday time.

And if you see something good, at a good price- and appropriate for several members on your list, buy in bulk. You might even get a discount for multiple purchases.

Spend and Save

It might work better for your budgeting and for your time management if you use a “little bit of both” approach. That is, maybe commit to saving a certain amount every pay period, but also commit to picking up an item or two as you go along.

The whole point is to spread the cost out over a period of time so that you’re not overloaded with debt, come the holiday season.