Christmas is a mere 100 days away. Think it's too early to start planning for the holidays? Well according to the National Retail Federation last year almost 40 percent of Americans started Christmas shopping before Halloween. That may seem like a while, but if you want to make it through the holidays without giving your budget a beating check out these tricks to start saving now.
Many stores offer layaway programs to help shoppers pay for purchases over the weeks and months before Christmas. From now until September 20 Kmart shoppers can enjoy free layaway. That means the $5 service fee on an 8 week contract or the $10 service fee on a 12 week contract is waived for early shoppers.
Buy Gift Cards
Some savvy shoppers use gift cards as their way to save money for holiday shopping. Instead of buying actual gifts now when the selection may not be quite as good, buy gift cards for stores where you intend to shop. Sock those gift cards away until November or December when you decide to start your gift buying.
Create a Christmas Budget
Instead of simply buying a gift for someone on your list without really thinking about it, create a plan. The Dave Ramsey team has a new budgeting tool to help you plan and prepare for holiday spending. Check out myChristmasbudget.com. It will help you create a zero-based budget, tracking how much you have left to spend for everyone on your list.
Save Extra Cash
There are 100 days until Christmas which equals about 14 weeks. Save $20 a week from now until Christmas and you'll have $280 to spend on gifts. Cutting that much money from your weekly budget can be done by eating one extra meal at home, skipping out on pedicures or canceling cable TV for a few months. Small sacrifices an easily add up.
A great way to avoid blowing your budget during the holidays is by giving people on your list handmade gifts. But with the rush of the holidays that can get hectic. So start getting crafty now. Find loads of free inspiration on Pinterest and start your Christmas crafts now.
By Alison Storm
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