Holiday season is rapidly approaching and you don’t want to spend the holiday season balling on a budget. We have compiled four easy ways to stay within budget this holiday season. Read on for money saving tips!

Make a budget.  Before you even step foot inside a store or start browsing online, make a budget. Sit down and write exactly how much you want to spend on who you want to spend it. I’m sure there are going to be some people you want to spend a little bit extra on (like your mom) and some that you wouldn’t mind spending a little less on (your neighbor perhaps). While it might seem rude to specifically write down how much you want to spend on and on whom to spend it, it will help you stay on track this holiday season.

Stick to the plan. Nearly everyone plans on sticking to a budget but only a few ever really pull it off. It’s hard to stick to a budget, especially around the holidays when you see the perfect gift for a loved one. Although it might seem like the “perfect” gift for Aunt Sally, is it really worth breaking the bank?

Plan ahead. plannerI use the Good Housekeeping Holiday Planner. This is a printable PDF and let me tell you, it is a lifesaver. It is important to plan ahead and have everything written down. By writing everything down, you are able to physically see what you still have to buy, so you don’t over spend or buy extra presents you were never planning on buying in the first place. By writing your holiday list down, you can save your time and energy and do more things you enjoy this holiday season (like baking cookies).

Make your own gifts. Making your own gifts is personal and cost effective. For all of you rolling your eyes and saying you can’t do it — you are so wrong. It’s really easy to make your own gifts and you don’t have to be that artistic or crafty. This year instead of spending $20 on a candle, make your own. Making your own candles will not only save you money but you can personalize it (unlike store bought ones). Does Aunt Debbie enjoy everything peppermint scented or your best friend love the scent of fresh linen? Well buy essential oils in their favorite scents and add them to the candle. What is better than a one-of-a-kind, thoughtful gift? They’re bound to love it! Click here for a how-to for making your own holiday candles.

Other helpful tips for this holiday season:

  • Use cash. When we use cash instead of our cards, on average we tend to spend less.
  • Get a box of envelopes and mark them with each person’s name. Inside these envelopes place the amount you want to spend on their gift. This will help you stay on track and not overspend.
  • Ask if the store has complimentary gift wrapping. Some stores offer shoppers this great and convenient service. Not only will this cut down on your wrapping paper budget but it will free up some time in your schedule.