I love Christmas! I do not love that as soon as it is possible, many stores begin to put out holiday items. Although this sort of behavior may seem annoying, it may actually be the smart way to begin to plan for the holidays in advance. Keep in mind that this does not need to mean that you  should overspend for the holidays. This strategy used correctly can in fact have the exact opposite results. Preparing in advance for the holidays can free up more money later on and make the holidays much less painful. If you are like me and have spent far too much in the past over the holidays, you may actually benefit from this type of approach. I advise against unnecessary credit card usage based on my own past experiences. Unless you are able to pay it off before the next bill goes out, do not use credit cards to fund your holiday expenses. I have asked other bloggers what their best advice on preparing in advance for the holidays is and I received some great responses. Here are just a few of these great ideas to help you begin to prepare for the holidays.

If you missed my first post on money saving Hacks for the holidays you should definitely start here

Claire from suggests

We do a lot of our Christmas shopping on Amazon. We like to make full use of our Prime membership, and reduce the time we spend on errands. But, we aren’t in a rush to get our shopping done just yet. Around this time of year we decide what we are buying and start keeping an eye on prices. Here are two simple ways to monitor prices on Amazon, especially as retailers start to compete for business around the holidays.
  1. The first way is to add items you plan on buying to your Amazon wishlist. You will receive a notification if the price changes. From my experience, you do need to check your Amazon cart regularly for these notifications.
  2. The second way to monitor prices on Amazon is through a website called This is a great option as it sends email notifications. I tried this for the first time recently and it is very easy to use. All you do is enter the url of the Amazon product page (at the very top of the homepage – ignore all the other stuff) and set an alert to be notified once the price drops below a certain level.This website also shows the highest and lowest prices the product has sold for on Amazon, and a listing of the last five price changes with dates. Give it a try! I recently set my first notification and scored a great deal – 45% off a Fisher Price Medical Kit for my daughter (we have high hopes for her!). I’ve since entered a few other things and we will keep an eye on the prices between now and Christmas.

Fredda Rosenbaum a reader from Texas suggests

Fredda emailed me to share her tip and I love that she did. She shares that she frequently purchases items during the year to be used as gifts. She stores these gifts in a tote that she fills with random items throughout the year. Fredda has found that purchasing items on sale throughout the year and storing them can really stretch her holiday budget.

A few additional things that I do to save money for the holidays

  1.  I always look for coupons for places such as Yankee Candle, Bath & Body works, Jcpenney, Kohls, etc. These coupons frequently offer a free item that can be gifted or significant amounts off of your purchases to help maximize savings.
  2. Collect Amazon gift cards from various websites and Apps that I can earn cash back on purchases or through surveys or activities throughout the year, such as Mypoints, Swagbucks, Ibotta, Fetch Rewards & Shopkick.
  3. I start the 52 week money challenge at the beginning of every year and this really helps to save money in general. I find that when I do this money challenge I have more money in savings to play with and do not feel the need to use credit cards for my holiday purchases.
  4. Participate in some mystery shopping activities or some online surveys to earn extra money or gift cards to stretch your holiday budget. These do take an investment of time and some work but they can pay off significantly if you are willing to work at them.