Save Money With Christmas in July

By ERIN TURNER

Well, folks I know we just had our first day of summer (literally!) but do you know there are only 181 days, 3hrs, 29mins and 44secs until Christmas?  Now, many of you may scoff at that fact and blow it off as commercialism at its best.  But, in all reality, getting a jump on Christmas in the off season is actually quite anti-commercialism.  Stay with me and you’ll catch on, plus you’ll even save some cash.

By starting to fulfill your gift list now, you evade the inflated seasonal cost of items.  I’ve mentioned it before: products bought right before a holiday will be the most expensive.  So you will be getting your gifts at a fraction of the cost you normally would in December if you start playing Santa now.  I know some toys aren’t available until November or December so you may have to wait and make a splurge, but if you save enough on other gifts then you have the freedom to pay more for that “must-have” gift.

Second, this is a great time of year to find unique, creative and meaningful gifts.  With all the Farmer’s Markets in Missoula, you can find some great local novelties that really show your thoughtfulness.  Many of you are planning trips this summer which will provide a great opportunity to find extra special gifts for friends and family. My family made a stop at “The Spiral Spoon” in East Glacier last week and found some extraordinary locally, hand-carved spoons.  The perfect gift for our Midwest family.  We sure wouldn’t have stumbled upon those inDecember!

Take advantage of the vast array of hand-crafted gifts available only in the summertime.  Not to mention, summer time is perfect for kids to spend an afternoon making handprint ornaments for grandparents or tie-dye t-shirts for their cousins.  Who knew that those lazy days of summer could be meant for celebrating Christmas later on?

Many stores have summer time clearance sales that really rock the boat.  I had brunch at Cracker Barrel this morning and they were having a 90% off sale!  They had some great gift ideas and Christmas decorations.  A few things from sales like this and your list is smaller by the minute while your savings gets bigger.

Finally, by starting your Christmas shopping now you can spread your spending out over 6 months instead of slamming it all into a one month period.  That is a killer on the budget!  It makes better sense financially plus you avoid the bad habit of buying stuff last minute out of sheer panic regardless of cost.

More importantly, by starting now you really send the message that you care about your family and friends because you will spend more time and thought on their gifts.   But honestly, for me the number one reason I like to start early is to free up the season for truly celebrating and enjoying the entire month leading up to Christmas.  I spent a few years spinning around in the commercial craziness the weeks preceding Christmas.

My wallet suffered and my spirit was anything but jolly!  I really wanted more out of the season and I knew what needed to change.  Today, most of my shopping is done before Thanksgiving which has given me much joy.  I still do a little shopping during the season because it can be fun when you’re not stressed out about time and money.

This past Christmas season I was able to begin a new tradition of doing a family activity each night of December.  It made for the most meaningful holiday ever and really reinforced the true meaning of the season for my whole family.  I was only able to pull this off because the shopping was completed thus leaving me time and money to spend with my family.  In a perfect world, I would also have those gifts wrapped before, too, but I guess I need a little holiday stress, right!?

So, after the firecrackers pop and the flags wave next week, I suggest you to put on your Santa hat and head to your favorite lounge chair on the patio to make out your naughty and nice list  Believe me, it seems crazy but when the snow flies and the bells jingle, you’ll be thanking me.  Happy Holidays to all!

 

Enjoy this blog?  You might also like Erin’s previous posts on 10 Ways to Save WITHOUT Coupons,  Drug Store Couponing 101, and Couponing 101 The Basics.   AND, be sure to check out the “Missoula Save it Club”  on the home page of MakeItMissoula.com (See the Daily Missoula Fix buttons in the left navigation bar) for savings updates throughout the week!

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian.  Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques and trying to maintain a well-run, happy and organized home for herfamily.