Now that the kids are in school and the back to school shopping is done, it’s time to think about the next big spending event: Christmas. Christmas is a little less than four months away. It’s time to take action now so that you have the money you need for Christmas shopping. It’s also time to start thinking about what you want to give people so you can start looking for early sales. Here are some ideas to get you started amassing some Christmas money and saving on what you need to buy.
Have a yard sale: Take advantage of the good fall weather to have a yard sale. The money you make can go into your Christmas fund. Another plus: You’ll clear out old toys and junk to make room for anything new that Christmas brings. Alternatively, you can take your stuff to a consignment store and get cash that way.
Contribute to savings: Put $25 per week into a special savings account just for Christmas. Twenty-five dollars isn’t much; it’s a meal out or some impulse items you throw in the cart at Target. But it can add up to a nice chunk of Christmas money. If you do this every week from now until the week before Christmas, you’d have close to $400. It may not be enough for all of your Christmas spending, but it’s a better amount than $0.
Get a seasonal job: Now is the time when retailers start hiring for the Christmas season. It’s your chance to get some part time work that can fatten your Christmas spending account. If you get a job where you regularly shop and they offer employee discounts, you can save even more on your Christmas shopping.
Participate in rewards sites: Get Paid To (GPT) and survey sites can be good sources of a little extra money. If you already participate, try to increase the number of things you do to increase your earnings heading into the holidays. If you already have a lot of points saved up, go ahead and start cashing them in for any gift cards you want to avoid delays or shortages.
Redeem your credit card rewards: If you have any cash or gift cards coming to you from your credit cards, cash them in now. Since it can take some time to get your check, go ahead and ask for it.
Start gathering ideas: Start putting together lists of things you intend to buy. This gives you time to find good sales and deals, use coupons, or negotiate on big ticket items. If you wait until the last minute, you may have to pay full price and face empty shelves.
Start on any crafts: If you intend to save money by making gifts, now is the time to start. It’s far less stressful to work on things gradually through the fall than to try to do it all in one week in December. You can also spread out your spending on materials and take advantage of the weekly coupons offered by hobby retailers if you start now.
You know Christmas is coming. It comes at the same time every year. There’s no need to be running around in December in a panic because you don’t have any money or any idea what to get people. Don’t be surprised by Christmas. Get ready now while you still have time to make some money and approach things rationally.