Forget the pumpkins and bring on the elves!

A great way to reduce stress during the holiday season is to get the ball rolling early. A little planning goes a long way to making Christmas even more enjoyable for you and your family. When you have a financial game plan, you’ll be able to keep an eye out for great deals ahead of time, without rushing around at the last minute.

Here are 4 Tips for a Financially Stress Free Christmas:

  1. Make a Christmas spending plan now. Start by looking over your finances and determine how much you want to spend. Be honest with yourself, as this budget will carry you through the holiday and into the New Year. A little structure will keep you from overspending or making unplanned purchases in November or December.
  2. Formulate a gift list. Create a list of everyone you plan to give a gift to. Set a limit for each person and trim your list if your budget cannot support it. Don’t forget, a thoughtful handmade gift is a great way to show you care, while also putting less pressure on your wallet.
  3. Review your spending plan—again! As the weeks go by, keep track of your holiday spending. You may need to make tweaks as you go, which is completely normal. Instead of raising the amount of money in your budget, just shift priorities as needed.
  4. Shop early. The earlier you shop, the more time you’ll have to find deals and bargains. Be ready to comparison shop, use coupons, and leverage the internet throughout the holiday season.

There’s no reason to get overwhelmed with the holiday planning process by waiting until the last minute. This is a great way to enjoy a leisurely, memorable Christmas with your family and friends.