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Create your holiday budget... NOW!

Yes, I know it is only summer but what better time to start creating a holiday budget than NOW?
If you are anything like me, you wait until the last minute to start buying holiday gifts and then you're stressed, your checking account is empty and your credit card bill is higher than expected.
So why not start preparing your holiday budget now and maybe even checking some items off the shopping list? First things first, give yourself a loose budget. Maybe you plan to spend between $500 and $800 on holidays shopping this year. Second, find the best way to save!

Is it a Holiday Club Account?

Tropical Financial offers a Holiday Club Account, which is in essence, a savings account. This is a FREE account to our members and is a great way to stash your cash. The account can be opened up any time of the year... (Now is a great time to open it) and you add to the account as often as you want. You can set up direct deposit, deposit at the branch or send deposits through the mail. There is no minimum balance required so you can save what fits your budget. Maybe one week its $100 but the next week is $20. It's your money, your account and your terms.

Once October rolls around, your money is transferred to an account of your choosing and BAM you're ready to shop. Oh and there's even a "gift” for you too! The Holiday Club Account earns monthly interest so you'll have a little extra for you. As the saying goes, "out of sight, out of mind." This is a great way to save and not accidentally use the money for something else.
Gift Cards

This is another great way to save weekly or monthly and doesn't require too much effort on your end.
Every pay check you receive, go to the store and buy a gift card. For instance if you're goal is $600 and you buy two gift cards each month for $50. You'll be at your goal in no time.
The trick here is to keep those gift cards in a safe place, and remember that safe place. For the record, your wallet is not a good or safe place as you might see the gift cards and spend them on yourself.
Shop now and save later

All year long we have amazing sales in the stores. Memorial Day Sales, President’s Day Sales, Sales just because it's Monday and even sales for on-line only purchases. The sales are endless... I know I get text alerts daily.

So, if you know who you’re shopping for and you have an idea of what to get them, why not buy it now? Find a coupon, check out the sales and make the purchase now! Just don't be like my mom who I love dearly, buy it, hide it and forget it. I get a lot of gifts after Christmas. Lol.
Now, you might be thinking, "What about Black Friday?" What about it?! Most people think those are the deal of a lifetime but that isn't always the case. A lot of time the TV's are 2 generations old, or they only have 2 of the special deal computers in stock and sometimes the prices are raised and then discounted to make you feel like you're getting 50% off. Often times the deals are much better throughout the year. So, just be aware and alert of the sales and deals.

Start now!

No matter which route you chose, even if it isn't one of my options, start preparing now. It's never too early. Start creating your shopping list and the items you hope to buy. Start checking out pricing so that you can set a budget that works with your finances. But more importantly, don't wait until the last minute. We know that every year our loved one has a birthday, and the holidays are coming, yet we ALWAYS wait until the last minute to buy gifts.
The more you spread out your holiday spending and the more you save now, the less your wallet will feel the hit later.