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How can I save money during the holidays?

The holiday season will be here before you know it. Overspending during the holidays is a real problem for many people, especially if you're already on a tight budget. Fortunately, it's possible to enjoy the holidays without ruining your finances, as illustrated by these tips from Moneycrashers.com

Before spending season starts, take a moment to think about how much money you'll need to get through the holidays. Along with gifts and presents, also consider costs for hosting dinner, traveling, and decorations for your home. Once you have a reasonable figure, set it as your budget and don't deviate from it. Developing a plan for spending will allow you to make better decisions since you'll have time to think them through. It will also allow you to look for the best deals when buying items, which can save money. 

To make sure you stick to your budget, track your spending. Tracking spending is also helpful for you to identify any problems areas, like eating a lot of meals away from home. Online banking makes it easy to check your statement frequently to ensure you're staying on budget. When using cash on items, keep a log on your phone or computer of how much you're spending and on what. 

If you have young children and are tight on money, look for a free or low-cost alternative to holiday activities. Instead of buying decorations, you and your kids can make your own at home. Not only is this is a fun crafting activity, it also helps you build memories as a family. Baking and decorating cookies is another fun activity for kids, as is taking a tour of holiday lights in your neighborhood.

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