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Christmas In July - Budget All Year Long!

Christmas In July - Budget All Year Long!

Yes, it's July. And yes, we're already thinking about Christmas! Our Wise Spend Wednesday this week talks about saving money all year long for that holiday spending. It's hard enough paying bills around the holidays, only to add on the cost of meals, travel & gifts.

According to an article by CNBC, it is recommended that you spend no more than 1% of your annual salary on holiday gifts and travel. That means that if you earn $50,000 per year, you should plan to spend only about $500 on the holidays. Unfortunately, the average American may spend nearly $1,500 on the holidays this year.

With the rising costs of gifts, travel & meals during the Christmas season, CreditSoup has a few tips to help budget for those cost throughout the year.

Tip #1: Gifts

The best way to budget for gifts early on is to ask questions. Younger kids are always easier to buy early for. Find out their clothing sizes and buy a size bigger if you anticipate a growth spurt from now until then. Find out what colors they like, or toys or books they may be into.

  • Create a set list of who you are buying gifts for.
  • Decide how many presents you'll buy per person.
  • Determine how much will you spend per person & stick to that number.

Making a mental note about how much you spend per kid will also help alleviate the financial strain up front. If you vow to spend no more that $15 per child, then picking up a gift for 15 bucks here and there is the equivalent to dining out one day throughout the week. Completely affordable.

Once you begin buying gifts from now until December, make sure you've stored them in a good hiding spot - and don't forget where that hiding spot is!

Tip #2: Meals

Meals are rather easy to budget for early on. Most items needed are pantry & freezer friendly and can be frozen or stored until needed. Watching the ads, you can purchase needed items and stash them in the pantry until it's time as well. You can also ease the workload by asking your family to bring a dish.

  • Make food in advance and freeze if possible.
  • Watch for sales at your local grocery stores, especially when it comes to bigger ticket items such as meat. You can always pick up a ham in July and freeze it 'til December.
  • Consider a potluck and ask others to bring sides, beverages and other dishes.

Tip #3: Travel

If you're driving, and know that you might be short on gas money, begin putting some money away now. Stick it in an envelop marked "holiday travel" or the likes, and stick it somewhere out of site. Again - don't forget where you put it!

If you're considering flying, booking your flight far enough in advance is a more sure fire way to ensure you will secure that flight. Utilizing sites like Expedia, Travelocity, or even Priceline will garner you a better price than buying tickets outright, directly from the airline. Just make sure and pay for the insurance in case your flight is cancelled or delayed.

  • Search nearby airports when looking for cheap flights to save on your holiday travel.
  • Book flights and car rentals far in advance.
  • Find a credit card offering ample travel points.
  • Consider flying on the actual holiday for cheaper tickets.

Bonus Tip

Shop for decorations, wrapping paper and even a new tree immediately after the holidays. Stores don't like to keep a backstock of old merchandise, so they sell such things at heavily discounted prices just after the holiday is over.

Long story short - if you don't want to be broke by Christmastime, space out your purchases and start shopping now. And for more money saving tips, consider following CreditSoup on any of our social platforms listed below!

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