It’s not Christmas in July, but we are talking about Christmas in September. Why? Because too many people wait until December to buy Christmas gifts and end up racking up major debt to get to the finish line.
Who wants to start out a new year in debt? Not me! It’s much easier to enjoy the Christmas season when you start buying things little by little, starting now.
Here’s how to start planning today for a debt-free Christmas:
Review last year’s spending and set new goals
Review what you spent last year and set new goals for this year. Did you overspend? Is there room to cut back this year? Set a budget for your gifts and stick to it. Start putting money into a savings account this month if you plan to shop later in the year.
Shop for deals now
There are plenty of end-of-summer sales going on now, so when you see something that’s a great deal go ahead and purchase it. You can even use leftover back-to-school supplies on clearance now for stocking stuffers and teacher gifts. When shopping sales, make sure to set a spending cap., especially for the big ones later in the fall like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Use cash back apps
There are plenty of cash back programs out there that will literally pay you for doing the shopping you already do on a daily basis– basic grocery shopping, shopping for household goods, and even shopping for clothes and shoes. Ibotta and Ebates are two of our favorites that will make it easy to earn cash back and get paid before the holidays. Sign up today so you can put this money towards your Christmas fund.
Cancel something you can live without
You’ve got four months left in the year. Review your monthly subscriptions and charges and see if there is anything you can cut out. In fact, there are probably subscriptions you’ve signed up for that you don’t even realize are still being charged on your card. Do you want to know the easiest way to identify these? With Truebill. Truebill will scan your transaction history for any recurring payments. They will notify you of any you currently pay and help you cancel them instantly.
Set up a savings jar
It’s an old school savings method, but it works. Set a jar out and put in any extra change or cash. Set aside $1 a day, $10 a week, or whatever you can afford. It will add up!
Feature Illustration: Laura Caseley For The Money Manual