Lori Lori is a work-at-home mom of three living in Noblesville, Indiana.

It is crazy to think that Black Friday is just a little over one month away. That’s the biggest shopping day of the year, and there will be endless steals and deals to take advantage of that day, on Cyber Monday, and every day up until the holiday. Have you been able to save money for Christmas throughout the year, or are you just now starting to think about it?

Start today and put aside money that is dedicated toward presents. Can you save $50 a week? $25? Do what you can. Make sure the money is somewhere where you can’t touch it or you’ll take it to buy other things and it will disappear. What will $50 per week add up to by Christmas? Around $400 or so, which is a good chunk of cash. If you have to travel to spend time with family, that cash can purchase a plane ticket.

Either way, you don’t want to rack up another credit card bill just to buy some presents and maybe travel to family. If you do, you are like the millions of Americans who land themselves a pretty bad financial hangover in January. The average American household credit card debt is over $15,000, so most of us don’t want to tack on any more charges. With two just two months left until Christmas, here are four ways to save money for Christmas:

How To Save Money For Christmas

Shop sale items.

When you grocery shop, try to buy things that are on sale. If you are meal planning, do so around the meat that is on sale. The savings on meat and produce can add up and gives you the chance to try new foods, too. Instead of having a chicken dish you’ve had a hundred times, figure out how to make a delicious sausage stromboli or marinated pork chops.

Save on holiday items.

Start shopping soon if you can. Keep an eye open for sales. Shop online when possible – you save on gas and decrease the chance of making impulse purchases. You can also compare prices of items from one store to another and watch for special offers such as free shipping or a one-day sale.

Have a pre-Christmas clear out.

The entire family can pitch in and help you get the house in order prior to the holidays – and put some dollars back in your pocket. Look through your stuff and find some things you no longer want or use. Sell them online or at a local sale. There are always people looking for secondhand items.

Eliminate one to two meals out per week.

If you make all of your meals at home, this won’t apply to you. However, most of us grab meals out at least a few times each week, even if it’s just ordering a pizza or hitting up a drive through during our lunch hours. These
dollars add up quickly, and cutting meals out is one of the simplest ways to save money. Pack some leftovers from last night’s dinner and have that for lunch instead of hitting up The Cheesecake Factory with your colleagues. You will be amazed how quickly the saved cash adds up.

The holidays are a time many of us should enjoy, but too many overindulge, spending more money than they have allotted for presents and making the time stressful. Remember that you don’t need to buy fancy, elaborate gifts for everyone. A few minor lifestyle changes starting now can help ensure seasonal shopping doesn’t wreak havoc on your bank account. Instead of reverting to your old habits in the New Year, strive to keep these habits and next year you will have significantly more money set aside to buy Christmas presents. You could have enough to stash money into your kids college fund!

What tips can you share to help others budget for the quickly approaching holiday season?

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Category: Saving Money

Tags: budget