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For most people, Christmas is the most joyful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. The cost of buying Christmas gifts for loved ones can add up, and overspending can increase the post-Christmas blues. Follow these money-saving tips to have a finances-friendly Christmas without being overly frugal.

Shop Holiday Sales

Shopping holiday sales is a great way to save money. Many stores publish weekly flyers to advertise their markdowns. Most stores offer deep discounts on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, during which many retailers experience their largest sales profit of the year. Some stores even open in the evening on Thanksgiving, offering early-bird specials. As you’re out shopping, beware of the hazards of shopping among holiday crowds. As long as you’re careful, racing through the stores while shopping can be an excellent way to burn off some calories from that Thanksgiving feast! For those who would rather shop from the comfort of their homes (or offices) Cyber Monday is another option for markdowns. The Monday after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday gets its name from shoppers who, instead of braving the long lines on Black Friday over Thanksgiving weekend, prefer to do their shopping with similar sales online. Electronics are a particularly discounted item on Cyber Monday, as people traditionally shop for computers, video game consoles, and cell phones. Prepare to log on early, as often the best deals are snapped up right after midnight.

Only Use Cash

Another way to save money on Christmas gifts this holiday season is to use only cash for purchases. Using credit cards to buy gifts now and pay for them later can be tempting when you don’t have a huge amount of money to spend, but it can end up costing more in the long run. Try leaving those credit cards at home, and heading to the nearest ATM. Using cash makes it easier to keep track of your spending, as you are more aware of what is left in your wallet and are less likely to go over budget. Additionally, you will not pay finance charges on your purchases, which drive up the final cost of your gift items if you don’t pay off your credit card right away.

Stick to Your Budget

Yet another way of keeping costs down on Christmas shopping this year is to stick to your budget. Write down your own version of a “Christmas List,” including the name of the recipient, the gift you plan on purchasing for that person and how much you intend to spend on said gift and STICK TO IT. Resist the urge to buy extra items and blow your budget. Another budget-busting trap is buying gifts for yourself. Resist the urge to buy items that are on sale, or are exclusively sold during the holidays, and wait for the post-Christmas markdowns. Not only will you get more bang for your buck, but you might have even received some gift cards for Christmas, which you can use for your purchases.

Buying Christmas presents can be a stressful experience if you don’t know how to manage your money, but following the above tips can help both your stress levels and your spending down. Keep these tips in mind, and you will have a great, discounted, budget-conscious Christmas that you won’t regret when credit card bills are due in January!

To save even more money, why not use some coupons? Check out our seasonal deals to make the most of your money this holiday season!