Fact: Now is a great time to start saving for Christmas.
You're probably thinking, "Are you crazy? We've got less than a week to go. How is NOW a great time to begin saving money?"
The answer is: We mean Christmas 2012. It may seem a long way off, but that's part of the beauty of it. Since it's so far off, it's easy to plan and save for.
In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Dr. Stephen Covey says people who are effective begin with the end in mind. The earlier you determine your goals, the more time you have to work on them. Having to course-correct costs you time and effort.
You have a full year to get money together for your 2012 Christmas budget If you want to spend $1,000 for all your family and friends, set aside 83 bucks a month. It's much easier to do that than to wait until October and try to scrounge the money together in 90 days. Which, by the way, you probably won't be able to do–and that might tempt you into credit card debt.
When you make your next budget, put a line item in there marked "Christmas." Figure out how much you want to sock away each month and make it an ongoing thing next year. Put time on your side by starting now. Next December will feel like a vacation rather than a burden if you save a little bit at a time.
You may even want to take it a step further. Throughout the year, if you see an item that would make a great gift being sold at a discount, buy it with cash and deduct the amount from your Christmas budget. Buying your gifts in advance will help your stress level at the end of next year.
Start soon–Christmas will be here before you know it!