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10 ways to start saving for holiday spending

Duck! The holiday season is coming faster than one might expect. And Christmas can be costly.
Duck! The holiday season is coming faster than one might expect. And Christmas can be costly.
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Duck! The holiday season is coming faster than one might expect. And Christmas can be costly.

In what creative ways can folks find extra funds for holiday gift shopping? Here are 10 powerful and practical principles for conserving cash, particularly for those who start early.

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10 tips for setting aside cash for the holidays

Try these money-saving tips yourself, and see how much green you can gather to offset the costs of holiday shopping.

1. Start saving as soon as possible.

“A penny saved is a penny earned,” said Benjamin Franklin. Actually, that’s not altogether accurate anymore. A penny saved may equal a penny and a half, depending upon your tax bracket and work-related expenses.

Need funds for holiday spending? Start saving now. The more you save, the less you have to earn.

2. Sell some stuff.

Check your closets. Scan your shelves. What can you sell?

Why not load some of gift-worthy gems onto eBay, Craigslist, or another sales site? Selling quality cast-offs can ring up some real coinage.

3. Revisit past winter wardrobes.

Holiday gatherings call for fancy and festive apparel, but no one ever said such ensembles had to be new. A classic little black dress, along with a simple white blouse and traditional navy trousers can work their way through many such gatherings. A variety of accessories make repeats unrecognizable.

A person might save $200 or more by foregoing a new outfit and shoes for a glitzy Christmas party last year. Borrowing or dusting off some holiday bling can dress up an existing ensemble.

4. Trim the trimmings.

Purists love fresh-cut evergreens, but a holiday celebrant might save $100 or so by recycling last year’s silk wreaths and an artificial tree, bought cheap in post-holiday close-outs.

5. Tuck cash away every week.

Some savvy consumers write their grocery checks for $30 extra each week and tuck the cash in an envelope for holiday shopping. By mid-December, it can really ring up a nice total.

6. Toss pocket change in a jar.

Chicken feed can equal Christmas shopping. Why not toss loose coins into an empty jar or canister? Jingling coins add up quickly.

Skipping tollways and choosing lesser roads for short trips can also help.

7. Cancel high-priced cable channels.

Most families’ autumn schedules teem with school functions, sporting events, and other highlights. By opting out of premium movie channels during this busy season, a family might save plenty for holiday spending.

8. Pack weekday lunches.

Replacing burgers and subs with homemade sandwiches can trim waistlines and bumps up savings, as the holiday season approaches.

9. Always shop with coupons, if possible.

Coupons aren’t just for clipping consumers anymore. Printables and online discount codes are easy to use, especially in favorite stores.

10. Shop online.

Traffic jams and parking fees aren’t the only headaches for holiday gift seekers. Cyber-shopping can cut fall fuel costs. Plus, comparison pricing leads to innumerable bargains, not to mention free shipping and customer loyalty gift cards.

Across the board, the most prudent holiday cost savings strategy is to avoid debt at all costs. Credit cards are convenient, but carrying high-interest balances is a budget blaster. Thoughtful, but economical, holiday gifts offer a savvy solution in tough economic times.

Happy holidays need not lead to personal credit crises or even bankruptcy. Smart spending and advance planning can put money in the family coffers for holiday savings and shopping.