You probably don't want to start thinking about Christmas and the holiday shopping season this early, but it's in your financial interest to do so.
While it is possible to escape Christmas debt-free, it does require a bit of organization, preparation and willpower. By taking the time now to create your holiday shopping plan, you are much more likely to find that there isn't any extra debt to have to deal with even after all the celebrating is over. Here are a few steps to take to make that happen:
Budget and list: Your biggest enemy during the holidays is impulse purchases. With sales and specials in every retail window, it's easy to get sucked into purchasing items that you never planned to buy. To avoid this, you need to make a budget of how much you can afford to spend. Once finished, make a list of all the people who you need to buy gifts for and figure out how to make those fit within that budget. By assigning prices to all the gifts that you need to purchase, you'll know exactly what you can and can't afford.Start yesterday: When it comes to getting all the gifts that are on your list, the more time you have, the better. If you have already found gifts for some of the people on your list, you're way ahead of the game. If not, start looking right now rather than later. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to find that special gift you want, and what you do end up finding will cost you a lot more. An added bonus of getting your shopping done early is a lot less stress.