Is your head still spinning from the hustle and bustle of the holidays? You can take a lot of madness out of next Christmas by preparing earlier. More time prepping means less time stressing. If you start planning for it now, you'll enjoy it a lot more.
Greasing the wheels on Christmas is easy. Here are five tips you can use now to make next year's holiday season smoother than a Santa sleigh ride:
1. Do a holiday debrief
Now that Christmas is over, take a few minutes to make a list of things you spent time and money on. Gather your loved ones around and set a game plan for next year. What events and traditions are important to you? What might you want to skip in the future? Time and money are both at a premium during the holidays. Establishing a simple plan in advance will allow you to focus on the things that bring joy to your family.
2. Toss out shabby decorations
Do you know what it’s like to have a string of lights or an artificial tree hanging on for dear life? Sure, everyone does! Don’t hang on to worn-out decorations. When you pack up, throw out the stuff that’s in bad shape. Then write down what you need to replace.
3. Buy Christmas supplies at a discount
Retailers are desperate to unload their wrapping paper, decorations and other materials after the holidays. They slash their prices, which means you have a great opportunity to stock up for next year. Just be careful not to overspend because of all the deals you find.
4. Do smart packing and organizing
Store similar items together and label bins and boxes clearly. Put big stuff like trees and outdoor decorations in easy-to-reach areas. Want to keep the lights untangled? Wrap them around empty coffee or paint cans. Careful packing now means easy unpacking later.
5. Start saving now
How much did you spend on presents last year? Take that number and divide it by 10—so by next October, you’ll have your money saved and can start shopping. Then sock that amount away each month so you can pay cash for gifts next year. It’s a better plan than waiting until the last minute and paying for your gifts with credit cards.
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You should take the time to appreciate the holiday season before you rush out to buy decorations or set a schedule. That’s what puts the joy into the season. What takes the stress out is doing some planning for next year. It may seem like a lot of work, but you’ll enjoy the holiday season when you aren’t stressing about money or burned-out Christmas lights.
If getting ahead with Christmas sounds good, just imagine getting ahead with all your money goals. You can do it. You just need a plan that actually works. Financial Peace University (FPU) will show you how to pay off your debt and save more money—so you don't have to stress about spending come Christmastime. Plus, the average family pays off $5,300 in debt in the first 90 days of FPU.