Beautiful funny woman holding a pile of wrapped Christmas gifts
Beautiful funny woman holding a pile of wrapped Christmas gifts nicoletaionescu

Four ways to ensure your Christmas is stress free

WASN'T it just yesterday that I took down the Christmas decorations from our house? Well, just in case you missed it, it's the beginning of October. Are you ready to spend a lot of money on gifts? If you don't want to go broke buying gifts and presents, you need to start preparing right now. Here are some top tips to start doing right now to save on Christmas gifts.

Make a list of gifts and giftees

Make the list now. This is the oldest trick in the book. By this time, you should have a list of your giftees and your gift ideas for each of them. You may have more than one gift idea for each person (I personally have three choices for each giftee), which is ideal to give yourself more elbow room when shopping.

1. Know how much you're willing to spend

Your Christmas list should have three columns: your giftees, your gift ideas and your budget for each gift. This is important in helping you understand how much you will be spending for Christmas shopping. Never be caught unprepared. Also, feel free to adjust your budget to prevent yourself from spending beyond your means.

2. Do your research

Look for upcoming sales, bazaars and garage sales. You don't have to do your shopping in the mall. Unless there's a sale, you can hunt for gifts somewhere else.

3. Start collecting cereal boxes

Start collecting any packaging material that can be recycled. I like to save money on wrapping gifts but at the same time still make sure they are presentable. During the months leading to Christmas, I usually begin collecting used cereal boxes and actually any kind of box that can be used for gifts.

4. Check credit cards for special deals

Many banks and credit card companies have special deals and promos just for Christmas. They may offer discounts in selected stores or rebates. But remember: never use your credit card unless you can pay for the same item with cash. Never forget that a credit card is just a tool for transaction, not a genie.