As we July blooms into August most of us are happy and content to enjoy these last few hazy weeks of summer. It’s the time for long, lazy weekends, garden parties, barbecues and spending some quality gardening time making sure that our outside space makes the most of the glorious heat and sunlight. But in this amber tinted tableau of sun drenched hedonism, unpalatable as it may seem, now is the best time to start thinking about Christmas. The festive season has a way of sneaking up on even the best prepared and most well meaning of us. If you want this year’s yuletide celebration to be one to remember without a hefty bill that you’ll still be paying off in 2020 now’s the time to get out in front of the season and start planning. Many of us spend way too much on Christmas or borrow in all the wrong ways out of panic when the holiday season sneaks up on them. If you’re still paying off Christmas 2014 you may be in need of a financial paradigm shift

Say it with gift cards

Unsure about what to get a certain someone for Christmas? Whether it’s something to say thank you to your boss for recommending you for that promotion, a special gift for that loved one who insists year on year that they have everything they want or the sibling whose wants and needs will always be a mystery to you… You can neatly circumnavigate them with gift cards. And now’s the best time to buy them. Gift cards from from come at discounted rates and will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’re prepared. And anything that involves saving money time and effort is always a win.

Shop seasonal

We’ve been duped into believing that joining the thronging masses for the Black Friday sales (and endangering our personal health in the process) is the only way to get the best Christmas deals. Not so! In fact there are many things that are a lot cheaper in the summertime, and shopping seasonal can get you all of the bargains with none of the stress.

Better be budgeting

Even if the idea of starting your Christmas shopping right now is anathema to you, at least you should consider mapping out your Christmas budget now and starting to make savings. Setting a budget for your Christmas shopping is relatively straightforward, especially if you already know what your kids, siblings, parents or significant other will want to unwrap on the big day.

Work out how much you will need (or want) to spend for each person, factor in how much you’re likely to spend on food, beverages and decorations and use this to calculate your overall Christmas budget. Once you have this figure simply divide it by the number of months, weeks or days you have left to save. For example, if your calculations reveal that you’d need to save $1,500 that’s a potentially scary figure that could land you in some serious credit card debt. But by breaking it down across the 5 remaining months of the year and that’s just $300 a month or $75 a week that you’d need to save.
So start laying the foundation now for a Christmas that you’ll remember forever!