July 15-18 is Crazy Days Sidewalk Sales at River Hills Mall and other Mankato stores. It is smart to buy some Christmas gifts now at low sale prices. Here are a few other hints to plan ahead for December.
Trim your gift list. Discuss the idea of cutting down on Christmas buying with your friends and family. Chances are, everyone will welcome more thrift in these hard times. Many people find that they are just accumulating junk with the yearly gift exchange.
You might agree to buy gifts only for very close family members and children. Or you might decide to draw names for a gift exchange instead of buy for everyone.
Save early for Christmas. You can use a bank plan to save for Christmas, or use these tips:
- Buy gift cards at several of your favorite stores. Then add something to the value of the cards each week. Near Christmas, you can cash them in for gifts.
- A trick to put more in your checking account is the “round down” method. After paying bills, round the amount left in the account down to the nearest hundred, for example from $876 to $800 and write a “dummy check” to yourself for $76. When Christmas shopping season comes, there will be some extra money in the checking account for you to withdraw.
- Keep a change jar for holiday spending.
Make homemade Christmas gifts. Summer is the perfect time to make gifts if you have time off from classes or work. Some ideas:
- Friendship book – a particularly good project for teenagers with lots of time this summer
- Knitted scarves and tocques from pure wool. Very easy to knit while watching TV and keeping cool inside, and very welcome. Do you know how hard it is to find pure wool hats and scarves?
- Homemade jams, jellies, beer, etc.
- Homemade toys for toddlers
Watch for additional frugal articles on gift lists and more how-to’s for making gifts.