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8 ways to save during the holidays

A big Tightwad welcome for Stephanie of who shares some saving tips for the holidays.

Ah, the holidays are near and we all know what that means -- food, gifts, parties and more. If you don't want to get into debt like you did last year, here are eight saving tips you may want to keep in mind.
1. Create a budget Before you even spend a penny, create a budget ahead of time. This budget will help you determine where you're going to spend money on gifts, food, parties and so forth.  Often people spend way too much on gifts, leading to a large credit card bill they can't afford.
2. Try Cash Spending cash is a great way to make sure you won't go into debt. So whether you want to buy gifts or food for an upcoming gathering, pull out the cash ahead of time and only spend that.  When the money is gone, your budget is done.
3. Allow Time There's nothing worse than showing up to a party empty handed. If you don't plan your time accordingly, you may have to stop at a store before the party.  Most of the time, if you take this route,  people will spend way more than they should. Just like a budget, create a schedule for the upcoming month to determine where you're going to be and what you need to buy.  You don't want to stop at Walgreens on Christmas day to buy your mother-in-law a gift.
4. Consider e-cards In today's technological  era, most families have Facebook and email. If you know their email address or you're connected with them through Facebook, consider sending them a customized e-card. Most of the times, these cards are just as creative as the ones being sent in the mail.  The best part?  It's free!
5. Shop online Today, just about everything you want to buy is going to be cheaper on the Internet.  When you buy something online, it gives you the time to explore sales, compare prices and look for coupon codes. Plus, you don't have to fight crowds or look for a parking spot. While it may take the fun out of shopping just a bit, it's going to save you a lot of money if you play your cards right.
6. Discounted gift cards If you're a fan of handing out gift cards to your friends and family, consider buying them at a discount. Depending on the retailer, you can save more than 20% with some retailers. Check out eBay or third-party retailers who specialize in selling discounted cards.
7. Be creative With many holiday dinner gatherings, most people want you to bring either a dish to pass or a light snack.  Instead of stopping at the grocery store and spending $30 on a cheese platter, consider making something yourself. 
8. Prepare for next year The minute the holidays end, head to your local stores to see what kind of discounts you can take advantage of. You will be amazed at how much you can saving on holiday related gifts, wrapping paper and so forth. If you have the money to spend, consider stocking up for next year.
Stephanie represents, a website that can help consumers find out what everything in life costs.  To date, they have more than 4,000 cost helping guides.


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