Now all the presents are unwrapped, and the holiday rush is just starting to settle down. I was tempted to just relax at home and enjoy time with the family, but the truth is now is the best time to score some awesome holiday deals at after-Christmas sales and start planning a holiday fund for next year.
You can decorate a plain 3-ring binder and use this as your Holiday Planner. Include address lists for cards, budget worksheets, recipes, gift ideas, etc. The key to saving money is to plan ahead and stay organized.
Here are some ideas to help you prepare for next year:
- Shop After-Christmas Sales -- Many stores have wrapping paper, cards, trees, ornaments, lights, candles, and even gifts for 50% off or more. I also stock up on holiday chocolate to chop up and use in baking, hot cocoa mix, or homemade granola bars.
- Set Up a Holiday Fund -- This is so simple to do and can help alleviate much of the financial strain of the holidays. Go to ING Direct to set up a high-interest savings account that is linked to your existing checking account. Set up an automatic weekly direct deposit of about $10, or whatever your family can comfortably set aside. At the end of one year, you will have saved $520 plus interest!
- Holiday Cards -- You can purchase these at after-Christmas sales, and you might as well go ahead and address the envelopes now. If you use the Forever stamp, you might save on postage if the rates go up again.
- Set up Next Year's Holiday Budget -- Make up a list of everyone you want to buy for, and how much you are willing to spend per person. ThrifyFun.com has a great example of a printable Holiday Budget Worksheet.
- Photo Gifts -- Shutterfly has photo cards available for 20% off and photo calendars for 25% off. Get creative, upload some photos, and you won't have to stress over whether or not your cards/calendars will arrive in time for next year.
If you have a holiday planning tip to share, please leave us a comment and tell us about it!