Faithful readers know that we pull out all the stops around here to celebrate Christmas in July. Or at least start thinking about the holidays, just five months down the road. If you are or have ever been plagued by credit-card debt, I can nearly guarantee that revolving expenses related to Christmas have contributed greatly to that miserable situation. The problem? Procrastination.
Face it, when it comes to Christmas, the longer you wait, the more you’ll spend. The opposite is also true: The sooner you get started the less you’ll spend.
Everyone procrastinates in some area. And some people procrastinate about everything. Why do we do it?
We feel overwhelmed
The holiday expectations we place on ourselves plus those that come from our families, the community, even the church can be so great we feel paralyzed. So we do nothing until the only choice we have is to spend as much money as it takes to get by.
We overestimate how much time we have
From where we sit here in July, Christmas seems so far away. We tell ourselves we have “plenty of time!”
We have to do it perfectly
Experts tell us that at the root of procrastination is perfectionism. Because we feel we have to do everything perfectly—and fear that we might not—we do nothing rather than run the risk of failing.
We say we work better under pressure
Waiting until the last minute can provide quite an adrenaline rush. Procrastinators believe they cannot operate without that creative surge, so they sit back and wait for it to happen.
The way to deal with procrastination is to identify why you do it. Ask yourself: What price have I paid in the past for the delay? Do I really want to pay that price, or even more, again this year?
If the answer to the last question is yes, you have lots of time; you don’t need to be thinking about the holidays yet.
If on the other hand, you are not willing to go into debt to measure up to others’ expectations, get started. Do something now.
1. Start saving
I get it that not all of us are into Christmas shopping any time other than December. It just doesn’t feel right. What you can do starting now is get diligent with creating a healthy cash stash so you have the money to do that come December.
Stash $50 a week starting now, for Christmas shopping in December. Once you are in motion it will be easier to keep going. Even if that’s all you do, you’ll be way ahead.
2. Book travel
We’re learning that the ongoing Boeing 737 Max grounding is going to affect holiday travel and not in a good way. Southwest Airlines opened its calendar for booking flights for December much earlier than usual. And by the looks things, lots of flights are already sold out. Now’s the time to book any holiday travel you have in mind.
Southwest, which doesn’t charge travelers fees to change or cancel their flights, will waive fare differences for customers who need to change their trips because of the extended schedule disruption.
3. Family photo
Whether it’s for your family Christmas card or to frame for a gift to friends and family, now’s a great time to take that photo. You’ll have plenty of time to shop around for the best price on high-quality prints.
It’s hard to beat Costco’s prices and service, but you need to be a member. However, right now it doesn’t appear you can order holiday photo cards—if you want to go this route. You’ll have to check back in a few months to see if their holiday templates are available.
You can get 5×7-inch photo cards printed for as little as $1 each when you order a package of 20—and the price goes down if you order more. Even though it’s July, Snapfish has its holiday templates available for you to order and print.
A great source for a postcard with your photos, plus many other options. VistaPrint has frequent specials and sales throughout the summer, so check back to see if you can get a deal at VistaPrint.com. Caution: You will be hounded throughout the order process to buy all kinds of “add-ons.” Don’t waste your money. Buy only what you came to buy.