Christmas can be very expensive and put a lot of stress on our budgets. Planning ahead can help reduce the stress and save you money.
Christmas is a magical time, or at least it should be. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the things you need to do and end up too busy to enjoy it. That’s why being prepared is so important.
I know many don’t want to think about Christmas before December. However, if you wait until then you are likely to spend more money and have more stress.
A few months ago I shared some basic things you could start doing to get ready for Christmas early. Now as we get closer there is even more you can do to prepare, especially if you want to save money.
How to Plan Ahead for a Frugal Christmas
Have a Plan
Planning ahead is key if you want to have a frugal Christmas. A great way to get started is by creating a Christmas planner. It will be a great place to keep a budget, Christmas lists, and all the information you need throughout the year. Be sure to get it all filled out and have it some place you will see it often to remind you to stay on top of things.
Start Collecting Gift Cards
Gift cards are great for gifts or you can use them to buy other things on your list. There are many ways you can earn free gift cards like Swagbucks, an online survey site. Putting a bit more time into it now can help you have some gift cards saved up for the holidays.
Another option for earning gift cards is Shopkick. This is great if you aren’t a fan of survey sites. It’s an app you put on your phone and you earn points for going to stores, browsing, and making purchases. It’s a great way to earn gift cards by doing things you would have already done.
Earn Money on the Side
Saving up money throughout the year is important so that Christmas doesn’t put too much stress on your budget. One way to help build up that savings with less stress is with a side hustle. Think about your skills and how much time you have. There are so many great side hustle options out there.
Additional Information: Work At-Home Jobs for Homemakers
Earn Money While Shopping
A great way to earn money with things you are already doing is with rebate programs like Ebates and Ibotta. Ebates is great for online shopping, simply use their toolbar or go to the store from their site and you’ll earn money back on your purchases. Ibotta is great for grocery shopping. After your shopping trip you take a photo of your receipt and products and earn cash back. You can stick this extra money into your savings to help get you closer to your Christmas savings goal quicker.
Additional Information: 5 Apps That Help You Save on Groceries
Watch for Sales
This is one place planning ahead pays off. If you have a Christmas list ahead of time you can watch for sales on the items on your list. Often in July, there are Christmas in July sales on gifts as well as decor. Balsam Hill has a great Christmas in July sale, it’s a great time to get a new tree or decor.
Right now it may seem like you have all of the time in the world but Christmas always seems to sneak up on us. If you start planning and saving now you will thank yourself later. It doesn’t take much time or work if you do a little bit at a time.
Also be sure to join the Stress-Free Christmas Facebook group to get more tips and to connect with others.