Time to Start Planning for Christmas 2018! (No, We’re Not Kidding)

If you start now, you can enjoy a completely debt-free holiday next year.

We get it! Your Christmas shopping burnout is probably running high after weeks of fighting crowds and searching for the perfect gift. But if you start budgeting and saving now for Christmas 2018, that burnout will be notably less next year. Shopping year-round may sound crazy, but it’s the best way to stay on budget during the busiest shopping season of the year. And to make some of these tips work, you need to start now.

Tip No. 1: Hit those holiday superstores now!

Christmas superstores are offering some major discounts right now. For instance, if you use the coupon code HUGEDEALS on The Christmas Palace, you can get 40% off almost everything; it doesn’t include trees, wreaths or garland.

Depending on which stores you visit, some of them don’t even stay open year-round. So, they’ll be closing their doors soon. Even if they will be open in spring, they need to get rid of this year’s inventory to make room for next year.

This is the best way to get new decorations without paying a premium price.

Tip No. 2: Shop holiday clearance sales at other retailers

This is along the same lines as No. 1. The only difference is that these stores aren’t holiday centric. This includes home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot, all the way down to pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens. It’s even more imperative for these stores to sell their holiday leftovers because they need to make room for Valentine’s Day.  You can get Christmas clear-outs at up to 80% off right now.

This can include indoor and outdoor decorations, wrapping paper, and cards. Snap it up and you won’t need to buy extras next year.

Tip No. 3: Start a Christmas savings fund now

The biggest burden of the holidays is that you have a ton of extra expenses all shoved into the last few weeks of the year. It’s a huge burden on your last two paychecks. To minimize that burden, you should save throughout the year.

Here’s how to do it right:

  1. Total up all your holiday expenses from this year
  2. Divide that by 26 (the number of paychecks until next Christmas on a bi-weekly pay schedule)
  3. Make sure to set that amount aside out of every paycheck

That amount should be in addition to whatever else you’re saving for – emergency savings, your next vacation, a down payment for a new car, etc.

Tip No. 4: Plant your poinsettias and give them some sun

Fun fact: Poinsettias turn green when you put them in direct sunlight. Poinsettia leaves and what look like the flowers are actually the same thing. The leaves turn a color if you keep them out of direct sunlight. If you expose them to full sun, then they turn green.

If you plant poinsettias and put them in the sun, they turn green; take them out of direct sunlight to turn them back.

So, you can put your poinsettias in a pot, put them in full sun and it won’t look like you have Christmas plants sitting out. Then, about 12 weeks before Christmas, move the pots out of any direct sunlight and the leaves will change back to their original color. No more buying poinsettias every year!

Tip No. 5: Start making your list now

The greatest presents for people are usually the ones that they don’t ask for. They’re those great gifts that you just happen to stumble upon. Unfortunately, if you wait for Christmas season to roll around, you’ll probably forget those great gifts you found throughout the year. Instead, make a list of people you plan to buy for next year. Then, if you see something that fits each recipient, grab it with that Christmas cash you’ve been saving. You’ll have totally unique gifts and very little to buy by next November!