There is sand in your shoes and ice cream melting on the back porch. As you pack the cooler and the boogie board for a trip to the beach, the last thing on your mind right now is stuffing stockings. Christmas may be many months away, but the summer can be a great time of the year to nab some extra time to plan ahead. Work has slowed down, schools are closed, and most people have a little extra time in their schedules. Little things, such as checking your address list for changes so you won’t be panicked for Uncle Bob’s new address in Florida, can make a surprisingly big difference later. Another bonus to planning ahead? Money savings. These days, most of us are looking for ways to save a few bucks, so if you start crafting your gift list, you can pick up items that might be on sale. If you make your list now, you’ll even have the time to check it twice!
“Stretching the Dollar”
“Normally, I’d have to say that I hate the whole Christmas in July thing. I like to enjoy the seasons as they come and summer is a time for surf and sand, not thoughts of snow and Santa, but money is tighter this year, so I want to try to plan my gifts well in advance so I can grab them when I see them on sale. I tend to travel more in the summer too, so I’m planning to stop by all the local boutiques to see if I can find something more unique or special for those on my gift list. It can be festive running around at the Christmas rush, but I definitely spend more money on last minute gifts.”
“Plan Now, Enjoy Later”
“I’m the first one to say that I am a total lunatic at the holiday season. I am that person running to the stores at midnight and I tend to thrive on that pace, but last year I happened to get a few things done ahead of time and I ended up slowing down and really enjoying the season so much more. Now, I never want to wait until the last minute again and want the season to be about enjoyment, not errands.”
Here are a few things to consider even if your thoughts drift more toward sandcastles than gingerbread houses:
1. Plan Your Travel
If Aunt Sally already begged you to come for Christmas last year and you know you’re going to give in, book your travel in advance. You can save a lot of money (and headaches) by booking your airline tickets, hotel reservations, and car rental bookings now.
2. Make Your List
Next time you’re at the beach, bring a pen and paper and jot down your gift list. Think about conversations you’ve had recently with the people on your list and you’ll likely come up with a gift idea or three. Then, the next time you’re out and see something perfect or even better, it’s on sale, you don’t need to wait.
3. Off-Season Sales
You know that cute Christmas or holiday shop that you drive by? It’s probably having a sale this summer. Stop in and see what you can pick up. Maybe you need new lights for the tree or want to select ornaments for your favorite teachers. Holiday décor really never goes out of style, but it does get much more expensive come Fall. You’ll be ready when the season approaches and you’ll feel even better knowing you snagged it all on sale.