If you take a little taste of the
holidays now, you could be way ahead of the game come Dec. 1.
"The less time you have at the
holidays, the more likely you are to spend more,
just to get things out of the way," says Gerri
Detweiler, author of "The Ultimate Credit Handbook."
|Pour a little
eggnog and enjoy these 12 ways to build
the seasonal spirit, reduce stress and
|Plan ahead for the holidays:
your budget and gift list now.
Since your holiday
budget is likely to be similar to what you've
spent in years past, Chris Farrell, author of "Right
on the Money" says. "You can pretty much
come up with your budget."
As for gifts, advance planning removes the deadline
pressure, but it does require some added consideration. "You
really have to be more thoughtful about the gifts you're buying,"
says Farrell. "And you have to think, 'Will they like this
aside some money.
"Remember that anything you put on credit
cards and finance at those convenient monthly
(rates) costs more," says Gary Foreman, publisher
of The Dollar Stretcher. "Now is the time
when, if you're in the habit of going out for
lunch every day at work, maybe you bring leftovers
once a week and sock away that $6 to $8."
Before you know it, those lunch savings will add up
to a tidy sum you can spend on the holidays.
Want to make it almost painless? Set up an automatic
deposit to a savings account or Christmas
Sock away money for presents and you still have
to do your shopping later. But salt away actual
gifts and you've saved time and money.
If you're the type of person who shops estate sales
or garage sales you'll have time to find that perfect present, says
Shopping months ahead means you can make
the most of sales and seasonal
pricing trends. Spreading out your spending "is a good
way to avoid using credit cards," says Farrell. "The reason
people use credit cards at Christmas is they are going out and buying
a lot of things all at once."
Early shopping also gives you the chance to pick up
nonspecific gifts at bargain prices. Good late-summer
buys include outdoor entertainment-related items,
such as hand-blown imported lanterns, says Rebecca
Kolls of Seasons by Rebecca. Stores, she says,
"are practically giving that stuff away now."