It might be hard to believe but as of tomorrow Christmas 2017 will be closer than last Christmas. In about 2 months some retailers will start decorating their aisles and selling merchandise and the bombardment of Black Friday advertising won’t be far behind. Back-to-school shopping is probably more of a priority at the moment and we will get to that but most financial advisors recommend planning well into the future for financial success so it’s never too early to at least begin to consider holiday spending and make a few plans.
Here are 5 tips to be well prepared for amazing holidays:
- Make a list - You probably do pretty much the same things every year and buy gifts for about the same people. Did you have a falling out with anyone this year? Make some new friend? Pick up new clients? Are you thinking about taking a trip instead of decorating? This is a great time to think through an initial budget and start saving.
- Christmas Club Savings - A lot of banks and credit unions have special savings accounts for holiday saving. They can be set up like a certificate of deposit with maturity right before the holidays. Direct deposit puts a set amount into the account every month before you can spend it and the account will grow right up until you need it.
- Gift Card Promos - Whenever possible buy gift cards at a discount or take advantage of promotions where when you spend a certain amount you get additional gift cards. Costco offers discounted gift cards for everything from movie tickets and restaurants to golf and theme park admission. You might also be able to pick up discounted retail store cards and use them to shop for gifts.
- Loyalty Programs - If you sign up now for a rewards program like Plenti or pick up a rewards credit card you could earn enough points by the holiday season to offset some of your spending. Those programs also offer discounts on products, services, and activities from time to time.
- Email - Along with loyalty programs, you might consider setting up an email account just for email lists. Gmail works well for this because they actually have a folder for promotional email so you can keep newsletters separate from important mail. Major brands and retailers send subscribers news about sales, free shipping, and clearance items on a regular basis and you might find the perfect gift at a great price right in your inbox.