Fall has arrived and that means the holidays are right around the corner.  So, there’s no time to procrastinate.  Take the time to plan early in order to save the most money this holiday season.

Create a Budget

Determine how much you want to spend during the holidays and make sure you stick to it. Once you know approximately how many gifts you’ll be buying and what events you’ll be attending, you’ll be able to make a budget.  Whether it’s through an online budgeting tool, spreadsheet, or plain old pen and paper, set a limit and do everything you can not to exceed it. Think about what you will actually spend including things like wrapping paper, decor, travel, and special foods.

Make a List

Write down every person you need to buy for including some ideas for your purchases.  Don’t forget to include all the holiday events you will be attending.

Remember, you don’t have to give the most expensive gift to get the biggest smiles.  A well thought out gift can have a huge impression on someone.

DIYing Your Gifts

Giving home made gifts may be at the top of your list as well. Don’t wait until Dec. Start now.

Start Price Shopping

When you wait till the last minute to buy your holiday gifts, you are often making purchases no matter what the cost.  Throw that habit away and start comparing prices for the items you will be buying now. If you are shopping online, don’t forget to include shipping costs.

Also, mark your calendar, and start receiving notifications by joining email lists of retail shops that you frequent to stay informed of upcoming sales.  We already know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are loaded with great sales but don’t forget about Green Monday (2ndMonday in December) and Free Shipping Days (Dec. 16) to maximize your holiday spending.

Order Holiday Cards Online

If you send out holiday cards, don’t purchase them in a store. You will find much better deals online. Or better yet, use a photo card service like Shutterfly.

Stockpile your holiday ingredients

There are certain ingredients that everyone uses during the holidays (pumpkin, spices, nuts, pie crusts, stuffing ingredients, etc.)  Beat the rush and high prices at the grocery stores and get them before you need them.

Save a little each day

Putting aside as little as $25/week can help you when buying your holiday gifts.  At the end of just eight weeks, your weekly savings will grow to a few hundred dollars.

Plan for next year now

With the allU.S. Christmas Club ( you can set aside money during the year!  This special savings account lets you put money safely away and only access it in November.  By the time the holidays arrive; you will be ready for the extra spending.

Don’t let the holidays wreak havoc this year.  Time is flying by, and implementing these tips now will save you time and financial stress.  And, if you need help determining how much you can spend and still stay on track financially, our member representatives can help you sort through your finances.