The Countdown Has Already Started

I don’t want you to panic, but as of today, you have roughly four months and ten days until Christmas.

I’m not a big Christmas shopper, but I am a big PRE Christmas shopper when it comes to gifts. I honestly do pay attention when friends and family mention what they love or what they’re missing. Obviously I can’t lavish big gifts on them, but I try to show them how much they’re loved in smaller ways.

My mother loves Elvis and cameo pendants. Elvis is easy to find, but a high quality cameo…not so easy. Still, I keep my radar up in case something good comes along. When I go to antique stores or estate sales, I’m always on the lookout for that elusive cameo.

The other big issue for people is where to find the money.

We just had a big garage sale. Not only did we make enough to buy two new goats, but a lot of other big ticket items we would’ve put off buying otherwise.

It’s probably safe to assume most of us have too much stuff–stuff we don’t need and probably aren’t aware we have unless we trip over them. Start now and sell off your unwanted goods.

Electronics like cell phones and iPads
Gazelle
Swappa

College Textbooks
Valore

CDs, DVDs, and Electronics
Decluttr
SecondSpin.com

There’s always, Craigslist, Amazon, Etsy, and Ebay too. You still have time to host a yard sale too. Split the work by doing it with a friend.

Saving for a Christmas Fund
If you want to save money with a goal in mind, divide the total amount you need for gifts by 17. That’s the number of full weeks we have until Christmas–as of today.

If you set aside $30 a week, you’ll have $510 by Christmas; a pretty good chunk of change.

How do you save $30 a week?

Well, you can brown bag it to work for a while, or do without the lattes and morning muffins, or after work drinks. You can cancel subscriptions like cable, fancy cell phone packages, or gym memberships.

Do odd jobs and side jobs. Take a babysitting job or clean someone’s house. Mow some yards, or rake leaves. There are lots of jobs many of us can’t do or don’t want to do. Sometimes it’s as simple as putting a little ad on Craigslist or letting your friends know you’re available.

I find it easier to plan my Christmas shopping many months earlier. My Amazon Wish List is stocked with items I’m watching to see if the price fluctuates. If I start seeing some dramatic drops, I grab them there and then.

All our big bills tend to fall in January/February like real estate taxes, and house and car insurance, so I’m very careful not to add fuel to the fire. That’s the biggest reason I prefer to Christmas shop early.

When do you start thinking about Christmas shopping? Do you save up for it, or wait for the bills to roll in come January?

 

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12 Comments

    • Betty: You hit the nail on the head. Planning ahead means there’s a better chance of spending LESS money.

      It makes sense because we’re so stressed and pressed for time that we’ll buy on impulse just to get that last minute gift off our list.

  1. Our real estate taxes, the big one, comes in July. PA has loads of taxes. If our children didn’t live here, we would definitely retire elsewhere. We’ve been clearing out books, DVDs and some other stuff. Getting ready to downsize.

  2. I’ve done the big clean out/simplify thing so we really don’t have much to sell. (Would anyone buy a kinda chubby, very neurotic Jack Russell terrier?) But just seeing the word Christmas in August made me whimper. You know the Christmas decorations will be up in the stores any day now.

    • Linda: You wouldn’t sell that dog for a million bucks!

      I used to work as a window designer back when Christmas decorating started the day after Thanksgiving. We’d be building sets and decorations for months beforehand but they’d never go out before November.

      Now they get everyone started early. Sad.

  3. I merely have a drinks and Turkey fund. I salt away 15 – 20 dollars a month, and then from September onwards look out for drink promo offers that will vanish as Christmas approaches. Actually I’ve already weakened, buying a bottle of Southern Comfort with 30% off. The trick is not to weaken and break into the bottle before Christmas. Strangely enough I find this quite easy, though sometimes a creep upon my growing hoard and stroke the bottles like some sad miser 🙂

  4. The Christmas decorations are already going up in stores here, LD. It’s depressing to see a fully decked-out Christmas tree when I’m covered in summer sweat, lol.

    We decided a couple years back to scale down Christmas. I now make almost all my gifts, and I start in August. By the time November arrives I’m finished, everything is wrapped and I don’t have to worry about last-minute anything. We’re also trying to get away from actual gifts and instead have celebrations at home. During the holidays we ask people over for dinner, make day trips to visit family and spend time with the kids doing family things together. Takes so much stress out of the season, too.

    • Lynn:
      re: The Christmas decorations are already going up in stores here…

      You’re kidding! That’s obscene.

      I bake for my neighbors–though considering my baking skills that might not be a great Christmas gift. LOL!

      I’ve limited my shopping to my mom and a few nearby friends, but my home is always open for guests during the holidays. No one goes to bed hungry here. 🙂

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