By Kelly Lynn Adams

With the holidays just around the corner many of us haven’t even thought about all of the holiday shopping that we need to do before the New Year approaches. For some of us, just the thought of holiday shopping makes us feel a little uneasy. This year, if you really want to stick to a budget when holiday shopping for your loved ones, we have great news…

5 tips on how you can stay on budget while doing your holiday shopping

Plan. For many of us, the holidays seem to come too quickly and we’re left unsure of for whom we need to buy and what we would like to spend. To avoid this, make a list of the people for whom you plan to buy gifts and, next to their names, write down the amount you wish to spend. Remember, though, that even though you set a budget, this doesn’t mean you have to spend that entire amount. It just means that you must not exceed that amount. How many times have you found really cool gifts for cheaper than what you originally planned for?

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Start To Save. Rather than being bombarded (and shocked) the week you decide to do all your shopping, start saving well in advance. The best way to do this is to minimally cut back on spending each day. Look at what you are spending and see where you can save between $1-$5 (or more) each day. Maybe you cut back on your Starbucks runs or perhaps you can skip out on that cab fare and take the bus instead.

Pay With Cash. Consider making all of your purchases with cash so that you are not racking up your credit card bills over the holidays. This will ensure you stay on budget (since once you run out of cash you are forced to stop shopping) and prevent you from facing a scary bill come the end of the month. If you absolutely need to use a credit card, attached a post-it note on the card with what you owe and your monthly payments to help keep you maintain perspective and stay within your spending budget.

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Off-Priced Stores & Coupons. Before you head to the pricey department store, check out off-priced stores like T.J. Maxx or Marshalls for your gifts. They often carry the same designer goods, at a fraction of the price! If you are shopping online, make sure to search Google for valid coupons for your purchases and see if you qualify for any buy 1 get 1 free offers. In Canada? Be sure to check out Lowes coupons too!

Stay on Schedule. Plan to go shopping when you know you need to be somewhere a couple of hours later. The idea is to not have any extra time left to roam around the store and buy unnecessary items. You only have enough time to pick up the items that are on your list and go!

Remember the holidays are about giving. But, in the end, stuff is just stuff and what is more important is the time you spend with your family and friends.

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