The holiday season is a time of joy, happiness, generosity, great food, cold weather, and gift giving. Just like every year, the presents seem more expensive than ever before. This holiday season, instead of waiting until the last minute and having to pay the most expensive prices for the last gifts available, make a smarter decision. Shop as early as possible, and start looking for sales now. Also make sure your finances are prepared for the spending you are about to do.
Most importantly, set a budget. If you have to buy gifts for several nieces or nephews, set a price limit for each child, and don't exceed that limit. Give your children an equal value of presents, and don't spend too much trying to buy their love or loyalty. Your kids will understand if you simply can't afford to buy as many presents this year, and they won't hate you because of it.
Make sure your budget stretches beyond presents. You will have to buy food during the holiday season as well, and your electricity and water bills are not going to get any lower. Budget in travel costs too, because you will likely spend more than you expect visiting friends and relatives over the holidays. Make sure you know exactly how much you have in all of your accounts, and check that you don't end up overdrawn on your debit card or unable to pay off your credit card bill. Realizing your holiday spending has sent the family into debt is far worse than buying one less present for your spouse.