Only 121 Days 'Til Christmas: Starting Your Holiday Planning Now

Posted on 08/26/2009

Christmas isn’t exactly right around the corner, but it may be time to start planning - especially if you want a debt-free holiday season. Even though you’re probably still enjoying air conditioning and ice cream and your shorts and tank tops are getting plenty of use, planning your holidays now will mean you have plenty of money for Christmas spending when December does roll around.

Create a Christmas Budget - The first step to saving money for holiday shopping is figuring out how much you need. Be realistic with your savings goals. Make a list of the people you know you’ll be buying presents for and estimate how much you think gifts will cost. Make sure to include extra for decorations, shipping and entertaining. Once you’ve got the big number, break it down over the next four months and find out how much you’ll need to set aside in order to have enough. Use this printable holiday budget planner from to get started.

Look for Rewards - Some stores are encouraging shoppers to get a jumpstart on holiday saving. Kmart & Sears recently launched the Christmas Club Card. Add money to your card until November 14th and they’ll add on a 3% bonus to your balance. The card must be activated by the end of October.

Get Crafty - Since you’re starting your holiday planning now, you have plenty of time to make your Christmas gifts which is an affordable way to add a personal touch to your gift giving. Find inspiration from or Martha Stewart. Look for sales at your favorite craft store so you can pick up discounted supplies for your homemade presents.

Start Shopping Sales - You need them every year—generic presents that are perfect for co-workers, your kids’ teachers or that sweet elderly neighbor. Why wait to the last minute to buy them? Start your hunt now by shopping sales and clearance racks. Stockpile your presents in a designated gift closet and you’ll be ready to go when the need for a present, well, presents itself.

Map Out Housework - Will you be hosting the family at your home this Christmas? Start the prep work now and avoid Christmas chaos. Make a list of home improvement projects that you’d like to have completed by the holidays and start setting aside time to get them accomplished. Give yourself weekly and monthly goals. That way when the holidays do arrive you’ll be able to enjoy them completely without worrying about unfinished projects.

By Alison Storm - Use coupon code BAF8738W to snag items sitewide BOGO 50% off through 09/01/2009. Sounds like a great stock-up opportunity for gifts!

Joann Fabric - Well? What are you waiting for? Start making those gifts, and get your crafts supplies order of $50 or more shipped for free with coupon code AUGFSA950. Expires 09/15/2009.

* Hot deals expire quickly. This deal may no longer be valid.

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