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The holiday season is almost upon us, and with the arrival of celebratory occasions comes the added stress of spending more money than usual. Make sure your holidays are affordable this year and use these money-saving tips.

1. Develop a Budget

Holiday gift spending can easily spiral out of control, so it’s in your best interest to create a detailed budget for the items you’ll need to buy. Start by writing down the names of every person you intend to buy a gift for, no matter how big or small they may be. Next to each, list your maximum budget for their present. Then use this number to brainstorm potential gift items that will delight and stay within your range. If money looks like it’s going to be really tight, look into easy ways to make cash for the Christmas season.

2. Cut Down On Everyday Expenses

There are easy ways you can spend less money during the holidays. For many of us, the season is usually accompanied by cold weather, meaning our electricity bills might see a hike during the winter months. Learn about simple ways to stay warm without breaking the bank, and stock up on winter clothes in the off-season to save money. While there may be a variety of holiday events you’d love to attend that cost a pretty penny, there are just as many that are free for you and your family. Plan a Christmas movie night, spend one evening caroling, or ask neighbors to join you in a potluck to celebrate the holiday season.

3. Kiss Bad Habits Goodbye

There’s no better time to quit bad habits than the holiday season. If you spend a large amount of money on cigarettes, it’s time to make a change. Quitting smoking can save you bundles each year, and it could save your health. Try e-cigarettes, a great alternative that don’t contain the thousands of harsh chemicals used in tobacco products. Experiment with different flavors and buy an e cig online. The holidays are also rife with celebratory drinks, so set a limit of two drinks per event and save yourself the worries of feeling terrible the next day and keep your wallet full.

4. Leave the Cards at Home

It might be scary, but take your credit cards out of your wallet and only take necessary cash with you when you leave the house. The tangibility of the green paper in your hand will show you more accurately how quickly your cash flow can deplete. Using cash instead of cards will give you a better awareness of just how much you’re spending, especially during those long days at the mall. Going with a set amount will also make it harder for you to deviate from your budget.

5. Procrastinating Can Work Out

If you’re not the type who needs to have everything planned out and bought months in advance, then you can save yourself some cash. If you wait until December 17 to place your order to over a thousand retailers through freeshippingday.com, they will provide free shipping with the guarantee that you’ll receive your gift items by Christmas Eve. This is, of course, a risky tactic, but if you’re looking for items that are generally readily available from any of the listed retailers, then you’re probably safe—and you’ll save a bundle.

6. Shop Online

Doing your shopping online can save you money and the headache of dealing with holiday crowds. It makes it easy to comparison shop so you can ensure you’re getting the best deal available. You can also take advantage of the deals on Cyber Monday, which falls on the first Monday following Thanksgiving. A variety of retailers offer amazing deals on electronics, clothing, and more, meaning your Christmas shopping can be done without leaving your couch.

7. Don’t Dig Yourself a Credit Hole

If you are going to use your credit cards for holiday gifts and the like, be careful you don’t dig yourself into a pit of debt. While the allure of points and miles from frequent credit card use can be tempting, make sure you only spend what you’ll be able to pay back right away. Otherwise, you’ll start off the New Year up to your ears in bills that you can’t afford.

The holiday season doesn’t have to mean a huge loss of money. By sticking to a budget and following better holiday spending habits, you can enjoy the festive season and come out on the other side without debt.

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