Christmas in July

Why you should start thinking about the holidays now

07/26/2017

Christmas in July

The holiday season should be a time of celebration and happiness, not stress. That’s why the idea of “Christmas in July” is so appealing. Instead of celebrating the holiday during the summer, start planning Christmas in July to save you from hassle and worry down the road when the holiday season gets closer.
 
The following are just some of the ways you can benefit:
 
1. You have time to make a plan.
Take the time to assess your finances, make your gift list and create a budget. This will keep you from making rash decisions closer to the holidays. Regardless of the season, you should be taking a fresh look at your finances and budget every few months, so any time is ideal to look at the big picture and see where your money is going and how your spending habits have changed. Next, make a list of the people you plan to buy for and draw up a budget for how much you plan to spend on each.
 
2. You have time to save up.
That money you budgeted has to come from somewhere. Starting your holiday planning early gives you the chance to squirrel it away sooner, making you more financially prepared. You’ll be able to see where you can cut costs, for example; but be sure not to spend the money you budgeted specifically for the holidays!
 
“Want to make it almost painless? Set up an automatic deposit to a savings account,” advises Dana Dratch of Bankrate.com.
 
John Lal, founder and CEO of BeFrugal.com, elaborated in an article for U.S. News and World Report Money: “It’s much easier to leave money untouched if it isn’t easily accessible.” 
 
3. You can spread out your spending.
Save yourself the stress of the holiday retail crowds - as well as any possible price gouging—by checking off your gift list early.
 
“Sock away money for presents and you still have to do your shopping later. But sock away actual gifts and you've saved time and money,” Dratch says.
 
Shopping ahead means you can make the most of sales and seasonal pricing trends; the challenge is planning out more thoughtful gifts, as you have to consider whether the recipient will still enjoy that item come December. But be sure to stick to your budget—planning ahead will do you no good if you end up overspending anyway.
 
4. Booking travel early saves bundles.
An analysis from CheapAir.com found that the best time to book airfare is seven weeks prior to regular trips, or even earlier if you plan to travel during a high-traffic period, such as during the holidays.
 
In addition to booking travel early, consider what else you need to prepare for as part of the trip, as travel to high-traffic destinations, cruises or international trips should be booked even earlier.
 
While you may have just celebrated America’s independence this month, celebrate your own freedom from holiday stress by beginning your planning today!

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