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The holidays should be joyful and relaxing, but overspending can make them high-key stressful and unpleasant. However, with a little forethought, it’s totally possible to celebrate and maintain a healthy bank account. Make plans to spend less during the holidays this year by applying one or all of these 5 tips.

  1. Don’t Wait to Make Travel Plans

    If you plan on traveling to visit loved ones, don’t wait around to secure plane tickets or hotel rooms. Reservation costs get higher the closer you get to your travel dates. So, pin them down early and shop for the best prices right away. Price-tracking websites and apps can help by alerting you when prices are at their lowest or showing you predictions for when they expect them to change.

  2. Don’t Wait to Buy Gifts

    Procrastination is the enemy when it comes to saving money! Start shopping for gifts as soon as possible. You don’t even need to wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday. There are deals to be found all year long! And, since supply chain problems are causing product shortages and price increases this year, there is no time to waste. Look for gifts that you can buy locally and shop online for items that are in stock that you can pick up at a nearby store location.

  3. Make a List and Check it Twice

    Make a list of everyone on your gift list. Set a maximum amount you are able to spend on gifts without going into debt. Then determine the maximum amount you will spend on each gift. This will help you get started stopping within the right price range and recognize deals when you see them.

  4. Shop Second-Hand First

    Before buying new items, check out local thrift, consignment, and vintage resale stores. You may find some cool retro something that one of your giftees will think is just the cat’s pajamas! You’ll feel like a good friend to the environment and your wallet.

  5. It’s the Thought That Counts

    To those who are nearest to your heart, it is truly the thought behind the gift that counts—not the price tag. A small, thoughtful, and personalized gift can mean just as much or more as an expensive one. If you’re a DIYer, maker, or crafter, consider a gift that’s homemade. Your time, effort, and creativity will make for a priceless gift.