Long gone are the days when retailers weren’t allowed to put out any Christmas merchandise until Thanksgiving was over. I made a trip to Walmart a few days ago and noticed that they are, in fact, already well stocked with Holiday decorations.
Despite the fact that it seems too early to be thinking about the holidays, at least some of us should be. If money is already tight, where will you find the extra money you need during the holidays?
The truth is that there are lots of things to do now so your holidays are happier later. I use as many of these ideas as possible to reduce stress and be more relaxed each holiday season.
1. Start a List
Start a list now of who will need gifts, big or small. Figure out what you’ll make or get as early as you can. This will help you prepare early and save money so your holidays are happier. It’ll also help you avoid overspending later because you’ve put off Christmas shopping for too long.
2. Make (and wrap!) Home Crafted Gifts Early
Although it may feel like there’s still plenty of time until the holidays, they can sneak up on you. If you want to have a less stressful, happier holiday, make home crafted gifts now.
When you finish one, wrap it and set it aside. Once you’ve decorated for the season, all you’ll have to do is put the premade, prewrapped gifts under your tree.
3. Spread Out Shopping
If you haven’t begun to holiday shop yet, start now. Beginning well ahead of time will help you spread out the cost instead of waiting until December. It may even help you avoid running up big credit card bills and paying tons of interest.
4. Watch for Ways to Save
Another advantage of starting your holiday preparations so early is finding savings on what you buy. Because you’ll have more time you can comparison shop, look for sales, clip coupons, and buy clearance merchandise. You should also use promotions, coupon codes, reward points, and other discounts to lower your holiday spending.
Need another idea? Try buying gift cards when they go on sale at grocery stores or discount stores like Walmart or Target. You don’t have to give the gift card as a gift. You can use it to buy other gifts and still save money.
5. Bake as Much as You Can
Do you love to do holiday baking? I do, but sometimes it’s hard to fit it in with everything else. To save both time and money, look for sales and coupons on ingredients you know you’ll use. Then bake whatever you can ahead of time and freeze it until you need it.
6. Set Aside Money
Another of the things you can do now so your holidays are happier is to set aside money. You can do this by looking for ways to save around your home and in other places in your budget.
Eliminate waste by being frugal with water, electricity, and other services you normally take for granted. Shop your pantry and eat what you have in the freezer before you buy more food at the store. Use the money you save for holiday purchases instead of using savings or credit cards.
7. Earn Extra Cash
Work hard now and earn extra cash quickly so your holidays are happier later. There are tons of things you can do to add money to your budget. Here are a few temporary jobs to consider:
Dog Sitting/Dog Walking
Many people struggle with enough time to walk their dogs regularly. Also, if they travel, they may not know where to turn if their pets can’t travel with them. If you like pets, offer to help them out in return for some extra cash.
Babysitting is the perfect way to earn extra cash during your off work hours. If you have kids, you’ll give them playmates and make money doing it.
You could clean commercial buildings in your community or clean homes for others. Even if you can’t find, or don’t want, a full-time gig you might be able to fill in for someone else. Pocket the additional money and use it for the holidays.
As you do your own early holiday baking, offer to bake for others. It’s another of the things to do now to earn extra cash for the holidays.
Online surveys take time but they aren’t difficult to do. Additionally, there are tons of different companies that will pay you to complete them. Try signing up for a few and put extra money in your budget for the holidays.
Obviously it’s too early to decorate your home for the holidays. However, there are still things you can do to prepare and reduce your holiday stress later. Try out some of these ideas to make sure your holidays are happier this year.
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What do you do ahead of time to ensure your holidays are happier and less stressed?