Staying on Budget During the Holiday Season

Staying on budget during the holiday season can be difficult to do. By following these tips you can shop smart and stay on budget.
Make a list and set a budget. List the people you need to buy gifts for, what you plan to buy, and how much you plan to spend.
Shop around. Before making a purchase, check around and see if you can find the item at a better price. You may find a better deal elsewhere.
Go online.  Check out websites that compare prices. Many sites even offer free shipping around the holidays.
Carefully consider bargain offers. If you must buy two of an item to get the sale price, it may not be a good deal.
Consider layaway. Many stores offer layaway where you make a deposit and pay for the item over a period of time until it's paid in full.  Make sure you get the store's layaway policy in writing.
Use credit cards and debit cards with care.  Save your receipts in case you need to return or exchange an item. Check your credit and debit card sales receipts against your monthly bills and statements and report any problems to the card issuer immediately.
Ask about refund and return policies. Many merchants have different refund and return policies for sale items. Check before you buy.
Now is also a good time to set up a Holiday Savings Account for next year. By transferring money automatically into a Holiday Savings Account throughout the year you'll be prepared for the holidays.