Kat’s Money Corner: Christmas (shopping) in July

07/22/2014 1:00 AM

07/21/2014 12:39 PM

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but there are only about 150 shopping days left until Christmas. If you’re like me and dread the idea of living on the edge of a paycheck in the last quarter of the year to pay for holiday gifts, why not start your shopping now and save dollars and stress? Summer sales are a great way to snag popular gifts like tools, electronics and even furniture at great prices.

Why Buy in July

The seventh month of the year is a very popular time for sales. For instance, Target is running a “Black Friday in July” sale all month long and many stores are extending their Independence Day sales to liquidate spring and summer merchandise. Online sales are often combined with free shipping, too. http://www.target.com/c/target-black-friday/-/N-5q0f2

Some Popular Buy-in-July Items:

· Grills and patio furniture: Stores are ready to shrink their inventory on these summertime favorites. Now, finding a place to store these until the holidays may be a challenge!

· Computers: Those back-to-school sales are already starting. Bundle a laptop with other items for even more savings. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyclay/2012/07/09/the-best-time-to-buy-a-laptop-is-now

· Tools: By keeping an eye on weekly fliers, you can help build someone’s tool chest at half the cost. This is a gift that keeps on giving!

· Appliances: These also may be a little harder to hide until Christmas but just like vehicles, the new models of appliances typically come out toward the end of summer. Dealers are often more willing to bargain with you on last year’s edition.

· Tax-free, yes please! In addition to saving on these items in July, don’t forget about Missouri’s Tax-free shopping weekend from August 1-3, 2014. http://www.visitkc.com/special-offers/tax-free-shopping/index.aspx

Stay Organized

When you begin holiday shopping in July, you need two things: some good hiding places and some organized lists. Create your own Excel sheets or utilize one of the many great downloadable templates available online. http://christmas.organizedhome.com/printable/christmas-planner/master-gift-list.

Your first list should be full of gift ideas and include a reasonable budget. During the year, I actually keep a little notebook with me where I write down things Jack or my family members mention they want throughout the year. I cannot tell you how much easier this list makes life!

Give yourself an even further head start by looking up some approximate costs. It’ll make you feel even thriftier when you can pick up a great gift on clearance.

The second list can include some checkmarks. As you find gifts, mark it on your list and maybe even file your receipts. In the event of price matching or a change of heart, you could return or exchange items you’ve already purchased.

Now, with the pressure off your shoulders to be first in line at Toys R Us on Black Friday, you have plenty of time to thoughtfully search for and purchase gifts without pushing your end-of-the-year budget to the limits. And you can create and start funding a savings account just for the 2015 holidays now to get way ahead of the game! Shopping in July is more than enough to leave anyone feeling jolly.

Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little one, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens.

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