It’s that time of year again where the stress associated with managing finances begins to increase for many people all across the United States. We’re still picking through the remnants of our Halloween candy and virtually every retailer in the country is blasting holiday music and hocking Christmas lights and inflatable snowmen already. And let’s play who wants to guess just how early in the month they’ll start asking you to get in line at their stores to go bursting through the doors at top speed as soon as they open, only to find yourself in the middle of a mob all trying to grab a flat screen tv or video game system at a deep discount. May the odds be ever in your favor.

With this blitz of marketing and holiday cheer coming at you from every direction, it can be difficult to figure out how to best maintain your fiscal sanity. It can be tough to save enough money to get everything on your list, but it can be really easy to fall into the financial pitfall of overspending, which leads to a long monetary hangover that will put a damper on your New Year’s resolutions well into 2018. Here is a short list of things you can do to bolster your resolve to have a great holiday season without destroying your bank account.

Create a holiday budget. Take into account everything that you will be spending money on during the holidays. Gifts are not the only holiday expense to include. Traveling, dinners, greeting cards, decorations and wrapping paper, the list is much longer than most people tend to account for. Put together a realistic list to help manage your expectations this year. Speaking of managing expectations….

Reel in the spending on gift giving. Even Santa makes a list and checks it twice. Take your time and plot out your gifting to line up with the budget you created. Avoid impulse buying last minute stocking stuffers if you’ve already accomplished everything on your list. You can also start a Christmas club through your financial institution that is like a layaway program for your holiday fund-pay a little into it each week, and when the holidays arrive, you’ll have a nice little bankroll to take care of gifts and supplies!

Be a deal hound.  Put the internet to good use. Comparison shop between online retailers and the big box stores to sniff out the best offers on the things on your list. Retailers often price match, and many stores have varying deals between their physical locations and their online shops, so make sure you check frequently for updates on sales and other items that have been discounted during the holidays.

Shopping for the holidays doesn’t have to be a complete disaster to your finances. Use a little common sense and follow these tips and you should be in great shape to make your holiday season a time of celebration instead of trepidation. Good luck on your holiday shopping adventures!

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