Who wants to think about Christmas when it’s burn-the-bottom-of-your-feet hot in Oklahoma?
Yet that’s exactly where Clarky Davis, known as the Debt Diva, wants our thoughts to go.
Smart customers should consider Christmas in July, she said.
Doing some planning and shopping throughout the rest of the year will save money. If the economy continues its downturn, the holidays may be even more expensive. Have a plan in place, she says.
She suggests setting a budget now. Decide how much you want to spend and stick to it.
Then get organized. Make your shopping list, plan ahead and save money. Look for holiday gifts throughout the year. Keep a storage area in your home for these gifts and write down the presents you buy.
I’ve always kept a drawer or a see-through plastic box for gifts for my family and friends. My daughter is the easiest to buy for, and I often buy a year in advance. Already I’ve got cashmere socks to keep her legs warm as she walks across campus, costume jewelry for stocking stuffers, a picture frame, Italian pottery that she loves and collects and cute note pads. All were 66 to 75 percent off.
Save money now by starting a holiday savings account at your bank, Davis says. Clean out the garage and the closets and have a yard sale this summer. Sell valuable unwanted items online through eBay and Craigslist. Sign up for e-mail alerts on frugal online sites such as the Bargainist, www.bargainist.com.
Most important, don’t put off shopping and planning until Christmas.
It will cost you.
– Linda Miller