01 July 2010

Christmas in July

July signals the Cheapskates Club's annual Christmas in July celebration. 

Actually, when you think about it, celebrating a traditional Christmas in July makes sense for Australians. It's easy to enjoy a hot roast and heavy pudding in mid-winter, when the wind is howling and temperatures are in the low teens.

But that's not what our Christmas in July is about. Instead, we take the opportunity to use July to prepare for the coming silly season, so that when December does roll around (and it will), we can relax and enjoy the spirit of the season.

As Cheapskates, we like to have a cash Christmas.  It's much nicer to own it when it happens, rather than in three years and four months when you've paid off the credit card! So, whether you're one of the born organized or one of the perpetually chaotic, now is a good time to start your Christmas prep. 

Plan
Take a few minutes with a pen and notebook to jot down your ideas of Christmas 2010. Set your budget, it's easier to do this now, before you are under pressure, than it will be in December. Make it realistic, it's easier to do that now too.  A rule of thumb is to ask yourself if Christmas was next week, how much could you afford to spend? Answer honestly, and amount becomes your Christmas budget.

Once you've figured out the budget, where is the money coming from? If your Peace of Mind account has Christmas covered, great. If it doesn't, or you haven't started a Peace of Mind account yet, don't fret. It might look  a little skimpy, but you still have time to find the cash you need for Christmas.

When it comes to sticking to your budget the longer you wait to get started, the harder it will be to stick to it.

There are some great tips in the Tip Store for Christmas budgeting.  You can do a DIY Christmas Club, either buying a gift card each week or banking a set amount into a Christmas account each week.  You can start buying and wrapping gifts now, marking them off as you get them so you are not shopping at peak silly season.  Do a stocktake of your Christmas supplies: gifts you already have in the Present Box, the cards, papers and ribbons in the Wrapping Box and your Christmas decorations.  Make a note of what you need so you will be ready to hit the pre-Christmas sales in September and October.

And don't forget our Christmas Countdown, starting on 1st October.  I'll have more about that later, and in the October Journal.

Over the next few weeks I'll share other ideas for Christmas in July, so that 2010 will be the best and cheapest Christmas ever.

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