We are deep in holiday shopping season, and many of us are watching our funds closely. So here are a few tips to help save some money this Christmas.

  1. Make a list! The best way to prevent over-spending is to know exactly what you want. Make the list and stick to it!
  2. Be creative! Sometimes the most appreciated gifts aren't the ones that cost a lot of money. If you normally purchase restaurant gift certificates, for instance, try to think of something more personal or sentimental....perhaps an inexpensive video of a favorite movie or TV show.
  3. Join email clubs! If there's a particular store or restaurant where you plan to purchase gifts, see if they have an internet club on their website. You can often get great savings through your email. For instance, many restaurants will offer bonus coupons for purchasing gift cards.
  4. Photo gifts can make great, inexpensive gifts! There are lots of websites and local stores that will make them. A mug with a picture of a beloved pet or a brag book for grandparents full of pics of the grand kids will soon become favored gifts!
  5. Gift certificates that include some of your personal time are perfect. For example, a gift certificate for Mom for a manicure, on the condition that you go together can save money before the holidays. Buy Mom's early in the form of a gift certificate and then pay for yours at the time of the manicure. It's a great way to save before-Christmas funds. And best of all, can offer you and your loved one some cherished memories!
  6. As much as you can, pay with cash! It's tempting to charge some of your purchases, but remember that those extra finance charges can add up. Make a budget and stick to it.
  7. Make gifts when you can! You can find lots of fancy tins at dollar stores. Fill them up with homemade cookies, candy, or cakes and they can make a tasty and personal gift!
  8. Most of all remember that Christmas should be fun and not full of financial stress!