I'll apologize now for those who heard me singing on the radio. I promise not to do that again. This week.
I'm sure you've heard of Christmas in July before, but did you really stop and think about the REAL Christmas in JULY? Well you should!
Now is the BEST time to start planning for Christmas. Why? Many stores start clearancing out their toys in August in preparation for the Christmas season. If there are toys out there now that your child wants, then August is the time to shop!
Target generally has the best clearance. You'll be able to find their toys at 50%-75% off by mid-August. I'd grab something I KNOW we'll be buying as soon as it hits 50%. If there's a HUGE quantity, I might try to make it to 75%, but I wouldn't count on it if it was a "must buy" item.
Wal-Mart will also clearance their toys out, but I've found that they take a LOT longer to do so than Target does. When Target is ready to clearance something, it will be out of the store within a month. On the other hand, Wal-Mart clearance will sit on the shelf at the SAME price for a couple of months...and then one day it will just be gone without having ever gone up to a higher percentage off.
You'll also find toy clearances at Kohls and some at Toys R' Us. I'd take a look around at the first of August and see what stores are starting to clearance out. What they have at 15% or 30% at the first of August will be 50% by mid-August at some stores.
Regardless of whether you jump on the toy clearance or not, I would highly recommend that you start your Christmas planning now. Make a list of who you need to give gifts to and what you intend on giving them. It's helpful for me to know what the regular price of these items is so I know when I should jump on a good deal. I usually make this list in January so I can take advantage of Christmas clearance items. I didn't do that this year so I'm a little late to the game by starting in July.
Another advantage to starting in July is that if you realize your child (or another family member) just HAS to have a higher-priced gift, you can start saving now and reduce or completely eliminate debt this coming Christmas! Won't it be nice to NOT have a credit card bill come January! I wouldn't do Christmas any other way!
Every day this week, I'll be talking about what you can do this month to make this Christmas one of the least stressful you've ever had! (And to make your January less financially painful!)
Tomorrow: Christmas Cards
Merry Christmas (in July)!