I know Halloween is just around the corner, but we’re going to talk Christmas today. After all, there’s only two more months left until the big day. Begin planning now for a frugal and stress-free Christmas.

Make a Plan

Every year my goal is to have all my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving. I really hate the December shopping crowds, and I need to focus on other things in December. I also hate the lines at the post office in December.

My timeline looks something like this: Finish shopping by Thanksgiving. Also mail any out of town gifts by Thanksgiving. On the day after Thanksgiving, our family puts up the tree and decorates the house. I also begin addressing Christmas cards, with the intention of mailing them out the week after Thanksgiving. That leaves my December free to attend holiday parties, bake with the kids, and just enjoy the season.

Manage Your Christmas Money

Hopefully at the beginning of the year, you opened up a savings account for Christmas. If you used an online account, think about withdrawing the money, so you have it on hand to buy Christmas gifts.

Whether or not you have money in savings, this is also a good time to set a budget for Christmas. In the excitement of the season, it’s easy to overspend. By writing out a budget, you can protect yourself from spending more than you can afford.

Be Aware While Shopping

While shopping at Costco yesterday, I took a little detour through the toy section. Though I didn’t buy anything, I made a mental note of possible gift ideas for the kids.

Then I browsed another section and came across a gift I knew my husband would just love! Since I had already worked out a budget and transferred my money to an easily available account, I picked it up. One less gift to buy before Thanksgiving! Looks like I might hit my goal!

How about you? What are your best tips for a frugal & stress free Christmas season?