Plan for Christmas all Year Long

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Christmas can take a big toll on our wallets, and it seems every year the holiday gets more expensive. If you’re starting to dread the upcoming holiday season because you just finished paying for the last one, here’s a new way of planning for Christmas as soon as it’s over!

Make a list of everyone you buy for. Write down their sizes, hobbies, favorite colors, and any other information that you can think of. Carry this in your phone, purse, or wallet and when you get an idea for a gift note it next to the name.

Shop all year long! Look for deep discounts and clearance sales whenever you shop, and try to buy at least one Christmas gift a week or month. This is especially great when you use a site such as Groupon because you can save even more. For example, Nordstrom often has coupons up to 75 percent off, and all you have to do is download the coupon code!

Buy seasonal items after the season. School supplies are very affordable in summer, and make a great gift for college students. The same goes for lawn care and summer items: they go on clearance in the fall and you can get them for a fraction of the full price. Just because a gift is seasonal doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it. How many people book a cruise in winter only to find they can’t find a swimming coverup before they depart?

Keep in mind that not all gifts have to be purchased. You can make gift certificates on your computer and give the gift of your time to a senior, a car wash for your spouse, and so on.

Make a second list of foods and ingredients you’ll need during the holiday season. Start your food purchases two or three months in advance, and all you’ll need to buy during December is perishables.

Speaking of food, homemade food gifts are always appreciated. A few hours in the kitchen can produce many affordable gifts, and you know the recipient will love the thought with every bite!