How To Save A Ton of Money Shopping For Christmas In JulyIf you haven’t done so already, now is the time that you should start thinking about your Christmas gift-giving plan to your friends and family. Christmas in July has many benefits that you can take advantage of in order to save money on holiday gifts.

“If you tacked on unexpected expenses to your debit or credit card or veered from your shopping list, a little early planning could go a long way toward keeping you on track this year,” says Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security at COUNTRY Financial®.

Take Advantage of Christmas In July

Boost Your Income Now

Most people look to budgeting to help them prepare for holiday gift giving. If you wait until December to start thinking about your Christmas and holiday gift giving, you will often blow your budget and spend more than you wanted to. There are two sides to every budgeting equation.

While you should look to create a budget and stick to it this holiday season, you should also consider increasing your income. Can you find a part time job? Can you start driving for a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft? Using the Christmas in July mentality is a great way to stay on budget and buy the gifts that you want. But, you need to consider adding to your income in order to be successful.

There are many great ways to earn extra income now to help you pay for your spending with cash this December.

Stick To Cash For Buying Gifts

You should make it a goal this holiday season not to add to your credit card debt. Do you have a list of everyone that you want to give a gift to? Do you know the amount of money that you want to spend?

You’ve got six months to start setting aside cash. Pull out an envelope and start adding cash to it. Do you save your spare change in a jar? These can be a great resource to help you easily save money for holiday gifts.

Maybe you should start considering the 52 Week Challenge. While you only have about 26 weeks left in the year, as of right now, you can

Download the Money Q&A 52 Week Challenge Worksheet here! It’s an easy way to start saving money each week for your Christmas shopping this year. If you start right now, you’ll be able to save $1,027 with the Money Q&A 52 Week Challenge Worksheet.

If you budget $50 per gift, $1,027 will let you buy over 20 gifts for your friends and family!

Buy Your Gifts Now With Christmas In July

It may seem a little counter intuitive, but now can be a great time to buy a Christmas gift for your loved ones. I like to walk through malls or stores with my wife and listen to things that she points out that she likes. It makes gift buying easy instead of having to ask her at the last minute what she might like.

I’ve got a Wunderlist set up with gift ideas for my wife and children based on off hand comments that they make throughout the year. And, if the item is on sale at some point, like a Christmas in July sale, now is the perfect time to buy the gift and save a lot of money.

I also love to stalk my wife on Pinterest and Etsy. Look at what your wife pins and adds to her favorites in Etsy. These are easy, no-brainer gifts that you know she wants.
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What to do Do When Your Wallet Is StolenAccording to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ most recent figures, 17.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014. The bulk of these incidents arose from unauthorized activity on existing credit cards or bank accounts, which can be a great cause for alarm if you happen to lose your wallet to a thief. Have you ever lost a wallet or gotten a wallet stolen? Do you know what to do when your wallet is stolen?

What to do Do When Your Wallet Is Stolen

If you can’t find your wallet, credit and ATM cards, driver’s license, and other personal information and you suspect they were stolen rather than misplaced, there are a few steps you should take (immediately) to protect yourself:

File a Police Report 

Once you are sure that your wallet has been stolen and not misplaced or lost somewhere in your home or car, then calling your local police department or filing a police report online is one of the first things you should do. Even if you don’t believe the police will ever find the culprit who stole your wallet, it’s important to have a legal paper trail. This will reduce headaches later on if you need to replace your ID cards or if a potentially fraudulent transaction appears on your credit card or credit history.

Filing a report also protects you from any troubles that might arise from not having your driver’s license with you. If you need a copy of your police report instead of just the case number, you can usually request it at your local police department building or online.

Report It To Your Bank and Credit Card Companies 

According to the law advice website Nolo, your responsibility for fraudulent charges on ATM and debit cards depends on when you report the card stolen or missing. If you report your ATM/bank card loss immediately and there are no charges yet, you’ll be held liable for $0 of the fraudulent charges thereafter.  Your maximum liability increases to $50 if you wait two business days to report the loss.

If you wait too long (more than two business days after noticing the card is gone) but you still report the loss, you could be liable for as much as $500 in losses. Do not fail to notify your bank within a 60-day timeframe (or at all). If you do, then you could very well be responsible for all of the unauthorized withdrawals on your account balance.

This proves it is crucial to report losses ASAP, preferably in writing to minimize any miscommunication problems between you and your bank.

The same holds true for credit cards, but there is significantly more protection here. Many credit card companies have their own fraud alert systems – e.g., a text when your card is used to buy more than $99 in gas or a phone call if your card was used in a different state or country – but it’s also important to report the loss of your cards immediately.

At most, you could be held liable for $50 in purchases – only if the thief uses your physical credit card to make a purchase, since online and telephone orders carry $0 liability for cardholders – but many credit card companies waive the $50 in many cases.

Important Note: Don’t cancel your cards altogether in the event of theft. This could impact your credit score by shutting down credit lines, so report the theft and request a new card to be sent to you in the meantime.

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