Plan Your Christmas All Year Long

For most families, the last 6 wks of the year are the most expensive.

From Thanksgiving through Christmas, all we do is cook and eat, visit and travel, spend and shop.

It can wreak havoc on an otherwise frugal budget! Many savvy moms budget for Christmas throughout the entire year, not just the last month.

The first step to frugal Christmas budgeting is to set aside funds each month for your Christmas shopping.  Open a savings account just for holiday spending. Set aside a small amount each pay period into a separate savings account and withdraw it just in time for a holiday gift shopping spree. If shopping all at once isn’t your idea of fun, you can set up your budget to allow for the purchase of a gift a month and just save each item until Christmas.

In fact, this also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of end of the season sales, essentially stretching your budget a little farther. This may also allow you to buy things you normally wouldn’t be able to afford. For example, you can scoop up warm winter blankets and coats for just a few dollars each in February and March. Retailers need to move seasonal merchandise out of the store to make room for spring clothing. Save the blankets until fall and then make a welcome donation to your local homeless shelter.

Storing extra gifts throughout the year usually necessitates having a gift closet. It can be anywhere, just as long as it is away from prying eyes. Be sure to include a stash of wrapping supplies as well. Wrapping paper, ribbon, cards, tape and gift bags all go on sale for next to nothing after Christmas and you can stock up for next year for cheap. Target lets everyone know that they sell items at 50% off the day after a holiday, 75% off after three days and 90% off after seven days. In fact, many shoppers are making purchases for next year when they shop the day after Christmas.

If you normally have a busy party schedule, this plan-ahead method can work, too. Use your gift closet to keep token, generic gifts for all those people that stop by with a “you-shouldn’t-have” gift. Candles, vases and fine stationary products all go on sale and all appeal to a wide variety of guests. You can also stop by the Godiva Chocolatier on December 26th (early in the day) to purchase boxed chocolates with holiday wrappings and decorations. They sell for half off and, if you are planning on visiting anyone between Christmas and New Year’s, make a perfect hostess gift.

Planning for Christmas throughout the year is easy of you have a flexible list and a sharp eye. Watch for sales and plan accordingly.

Ways to Save Money on Gifts:



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