It seems that the holidays sneak into our lives earlier and earlier every year. Retailers start putting up holiday displays not just before Thanksgiving anymore, but before Halloween! As much as I love Christmas, though, I have to admit that even I get a little irritated when I see Christmas decorations just across the aisle from Halloween costumes…
Of course, there’s really nothing that we can do about the early holiday onslaught. Retailers are going to do what they’re going to do. Instead of getting angry and stressed out over it, take it as a sign that it’s time to prepare for the holidays!
By taking a little time to prepare for the holidays now, months in advance, you can save quite a bit. Not only can you save money, but you can also save time, stress, and your sanity. So, an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude can come in pretty handy.
Here are a few things you might want to think about now to prepare for the holidays…
Don’t just head into the holidays all willy nilly! That’s a good way to overspend, and by the time the New Year rolls around, you’ll be feeling the pain! Start to prepare for the holidays by working out a budget now, before Halloween, instead of later. If you wait too long to set up a holiday budget, there’s a good chance that you may not even get around to it at all.
I don’t know how much the average family spends during the holidays offhand, but I do know that it’s an insane amount of money. To help soften the financial blow during the holidays, make sure you start setting aside money early. A special holiday savings account can really help take the sting out of gift giving this year! If you don’t already have one, set it up this year, and you can use it to save money for upcoming holidays too.
Some families set up guidelines for gift exchanges. This helps take some of the financial burden off during the holidays and helps prevent hurt feelings. When you prepare for the holidays early, don’t forget to give a little thought to how you want your family to exchange gifts. You may want to set a budget for each person, for instance, or simply agree for the adults to not give each other gifts at all.
I know, I know. You may not have even purchased your child’s Halloween costume yet, so holiday shopping is probably the last thing on your mind! But, it can really pay off in the long run if you prepare for the holidays and shop well in advance. This way you can spread out your sending over a period of several weeks instead of taking a huge financial hit all at once. Shopping early will also give you enough time to scope out the best deals and buy when the prices are hot!
For my family, freezer meals are lifesavers during the holidays. When we’re simply too tired from shopping or other holiday festivities to cook, we can simply pop a freezer meal into the oven. This gives us a quick and tasty meal with very little effort and no need to spend an exorbitant amount of money on takeout or a restaurant meal. Every year when I prepare for the holidays, I make sure to put together as many freezer meals as my freezer will handle!