Is it ever too early to start shopping for things like the holidays, weddings that are months away and planning a vacation next summer by getting a cheap flight early? If you’re looking to get a good deal and save money, one always thinks that it’s always best to buy early.
We’ve all experienced being caught off guard by seasonal expenses creeping up on us and not being financially prepared to afford it all. Fortunately, we’ve got a fool proof plan to help you sock away money for the pricier moments of the year.
Before you call us crazy for suggesting you start saving for Christmas in July, hear us out. Every year, it seems that things just jump up on us, like the holidays, weddings, birthdays and vacation, which can lead to lots of unforeseen spending. Suddenly, after failing to save for seasonal expenses, many people freak out about how their personal budget then changes. It takes a little work, but you’ll be stoked on never being short on funds when you really need money to burn!
It’s so easy to forget about the holidays when you’re hitting the beach and jumping in pools, but summer is the perfect time to start shopping for, or stowing away extra cash, for winter season presents and parties. Next time you’re digging your toes into the sand and checking your social media, take a break and make a list of everyone you normally buy a holiday gift for. It’s a good idea to short list those names and only commit to buying gifts for the most important people in your life: like family and a significant other. Set a budget for each person, and understand that it’s OK to not buy gifts for all your friends. Instead, put money aside to put toward a group dinner or Secret Santa party where you only have to shop for one small gift.
Weddings And Showers
Fortunately, like the holidays, we’re given advance notice of impending weddings. For these fun, yet pricey events, it’s best to start saving as soon as you get the save the date card. Normally, you’ll have about three months before the couple says, “I do.” This is the exact time to either shopping for flights and gifts or, even better, start setting aside money. Check out the registry, see what’s on the couple’s wish list. If you’re not vibing on the cheaper gifts they’ve chosen, see what you can come up with within your budget. Homemade gifts, or thoughtful things like movie tickets for a date night or a gift card to their favorite restaurant, are always welcome and often cheaper for your pocketbook. Once you have a clear idea of what attending the wedding will cost — including, gift, attire, transportation, etc. — set weekly goals of what you need to put aside to afford the wedding without crying into your slice of cake later.
Sure, birthdays are supposed to be a celebration of someone special, but they can be super stressful when shopping for a gift or looking to book a weekend get-away, which really puts a hole in your bank account. If you’re not in a financial position to be at every birthday celebration, take stock of your friends, determine which ones are really worth spending some cash on. Map out their birthdays on your calendar and the time it will take to save up some change to treat them. A month notice might only give you enough to take them to a movie or join for drinks after a bigger celebration that you can’t really afford. But, as time goes on, you’ll find yourself being able to save two-to-three months in advance and never be faced with the thought of FOMO because of a lack of funds.
Saving for a vacation can be so hard! The summer months are extremely expensive for plane tickets, hotels and food. So, rather than trying to save for peak travel times, do a little research and plan a vacation for the offseason. You can pick up some extra summer side work and throw all your checks into an account for an awesome tropical vacation during the bitter winter months. Nothing’s better than breaking the cold and gloomy days of December by hitting up a beach somewhere else around the globe.
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