Start Now to Save for the Holidays

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Posted on 11/11/2008

You probably just packed away your Halloween costume, but it’s time to think about Christmas. There’s only six weeks left until December 25. That may seem like a long time (especially if you’re a Christmas Eve shopper) but starting now is essential if you want to save for the holidays. Since most of us have tighter budgets this year compared to past years, planning is important. Gift giving can be extremely expensive so follow these tips for saving for the holidays.

Make a List, Check it Twice
It’s time to tap into your inner-Santa. Make a list and check it twice. It doesn’t really matter if anyone on your list is naughty or nice—include everybody. This is the beginning of your gift-giving game plan.

Put On your Thinking Cap
The key to saving money is planning ahead. Now that you’ve got your list, generate gift ideas for everybody on it. Need gift ideas? Try Gift.com (http://www.gifts.com/) or UniversalGiving.org.

Get Out your Calculator
Now that you’ve got a list of the perfect gifts, estimate your costs. Do some online research and figure out how much you’ll be spending on each gift. Add up your estimated costs.

Make a Budget
Now that you’ve added up those numbers, are you scared? If you answered, “heck yes,” try brainstorming lower priced gifts. If you feel good about the amount, create a Christmas budget. Use an online program like Quicken Online -One Place, One Password. Manage all your accounts on one place to start setting aside gift-giving money.

Use your Gas Money
According to GasBuddy.com, the average price of gasoline in the US is down more than $1 a gallon compared to a year ago, and $.50 a gallon less than a month ago. What are you doing with that extra money? Try funding your newly created gift-giving account with that extra cash.

Keep your Eyes Open
Since you know you’re getting Cousin Joe an arm band for his iPod and Grandma Sue a laptop case, start shopping. Carry your gift list with you and keep an eye out for sales or bargains on the items you need. Since you’re not waiting until the last minute like last year, you have plenty of time to keep an eye out for the best deals. And maybe you’ll be put on the “nice” list for your thoughtfulness and hard work.

By Alison Storm

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