Plan Now, Party Later: Getting Ready for Christmas in July

We’re not sure who coined the phrase “Christmas in July,” but it’s a good thing they did.

Why? Because that phrase reminds us about Christmas five months in advance. It gives us time to prepare for it. Too many people wait until December to buy gifts. With no money saved, they turn to credit cards in a panic and pay for Christmas until April. Not a good approach.

It’s much easier to get ready for the yuletide season little by little. You just need to know where to start. Here are five ways you can get a jump on Christmas—in July.

1. Save a monthly amount. Determine the total you want to spend on Christmas gifts and divide it by five. For example, if your budget is $1,000, then save $200 a month for five months. Not only do you enter December with your cash ready, but you also have a few weeks to enjoy shopping.

2. Look for deals now. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you see a bargain this month and you can just snatch it up? That’s what happens when you keep an eye out for possible gifts in July—you can save some serious cash. You could find baby clothes on clearance or golf clubs online. Gardening tools, camping gear and light jackets are also on sale this month. Keep your eyes peeled for those deals!

3. Use your “under budget” cash. When you come in under budget on monthly expenses like groceries or clothing, take the difference and stash it away in your Christmas fund. That $20 here or $50 there adds up in a flash, and it gives you one more reason to look for bargains in your budget.

4. Have a DIY Christmas. Hop onto Pinterest or Instagram to get some ideas for crafts that you can give as Christmas gifts. Searching for them now gives you plenty of time to buy the materials and put the effort into creating a craft that has just the right touch for the recipient. Even better, you have time to start over in case your first attempt looks more like a Halloween scare than a Christmas gift.

5. Turn vacation savings into Christmas savings. July is a month made for vacations. If you’ve set your getaway spending, look for little ways to save such as driving to your destination rather than flying. Then put the difference into your Christmas budget. Who knows? You could save all the money you need in one fell swoop.

Starting early to save cash and search for gifts makes Christmas a lot easier to enjoy. It also keeps your stress level down. Wouldn’t you rather focus on time with your family and enjoying holiday traditions? Yeah, we would too!

Plan for Christmas in advance. We hear July’s a good month to start.

Create your Christmas fund for free with EveryDollar! Make your list, check it twice, and tell your money where to go!