NEW YORK (CNN) – The swimming pool is still open, the temperatures still warm, and the kids are barely back in school. So isn’t it way too early to think about the holidays? In terms of financial planning, experts say no.
Shoppers may roll their eyes when they see holiday items on store shelves in September and October, but it may be financially beneficial for some consumers.
Beverly Ladley of Suntrust Banks says, right now is actually the time to start making those holiday lists, “The first part comes with just making a budget, making a list, and kind of planning some commitments with yourself around what’s going to be feasible for you to spend this holiday. And then once you have that list, you can really be looking out for deals and taking advantage of sales in advance.”
Ladley says an early spending plan can also help put more money in a holiday budget, if consumers wisely use their credit cards with rewards attached.
“If you think about many of the benefits that different providers offer, and you’re very thoughtful about your gas and your groceries, if you do use a credit card, you can then redeem that for cash in December and you can have a little extra money in your picket for those last-minute gifts,” said Ladley.
After trimming extra expenses over these next three months, like the morning latte or weekend evenings out, consider adopting those habits permanently.
“Keep that savings plan throughout the year so that either as emergencies come up, or opportunities for travel, you’re prepared for that,” said Ladley.
Those who really need money to be out of sight in order not to spend it, may want to have a portion of their paycheck directly deposited into a savings account.
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