You are probably thinking a number of things: one, Christmas just happened or at least it felt like it. Two, it's not even summer yet. Three, I'm still paying off last Christmas!

Here's the deal, all of those statements are true. It feels like Christmas just happened even though it was already five months ago. Although, chances are you still have uneaten Christmas cookies and candy stashed away in a cabinet that won't see the light of day until next Christmas and your kids have probably already moved on from that toy they just HAD to have. It is technically still Spring but that Summer weather is sneaking in and it will be here before you know it!

The thing however that is most true is that most American's are STILL paying off last Christmas because they put gifts on their credit cards. The average American spent $3,000 dollars on Christmas items last year. That comes to about $96 a day! I don't know about you but that's a lot of money! It's a no wonder that people put Christmas on their credit cards... They had to use the money they actually had to pay for the mortgage, bills and food.

When you put Christmas into perspective like that, I'm thinking Christmas is coming fast and I want to start saving now. Here are a few suggestions from dailyfinance.com to get ahead of the holiday before it sneaks up on you!

 

1. Make a List Like Santa

Figure out who in your family and what friends will be receiving gifts and stick to it! When you start adding on random people and coworkers, that is where your budget can get off track before you know it.

2. Create Your Own Christmas Savings Account

Although those don't necessarily exist at banks anymore you can still go to your bank and open on an additional savings account and title it Christmas. To decide on the amount just take what you spent last year and add 10%. Then once you have a hard number, divide that out by how many months till Christmas (in this case, 7) and that's how much you need to poke away every month into that Christmas Savings account. Then, when December roles around, you will have the amount you wanted and won't have to whip out that credit card!

3. Start Buying Gift Now 

This is my favorite one and I already do this too! If you have friends and family that are hard to shop for, don't wait until November and December to shop. Be on the lookout now for items that are not usually available in winter. I know my husband loves fishing so I like to be on the lookout during summer time for good deals on things that won't be on sale when you get closer to the holiday. Also, if your friends and family have a Pinterest account, you'll want to stalk that for perfect gift giving ideas. Just don't forget that you bought them or where you hid them!

I believe everyone is generous and during the holiday season we tend to be extra generous, but start planning now so that your generosity stays on budget and doesn't put you in more debt!