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I’m going to say the C-word. It’s a word that results in joy and repulsion in equal measure. Here goes.

Christmas.

Like it or not, it’s nearly here. Some people leave festive shopping until the week before, or even the day before Christmas, but in an extensive study, scientists concluded these people are clinically insane. Honest.

Much of the animosity towards the holiday season stems from expense. After all, there’s no point paying for Christmas into the next year, literally or figuratively. Fortunately, this can be easily remedied 5 Easy Ways To Have A Frugal Christmas And Not Be Called A Scrooge 5 Easy Ways To Have A Frugal Christmas And Not Be Called A Scrooge This Christmas, why not give your wallet a break? Being frugal could mean being responsible about expenses and spending wisely. If you want to save money this holiday season, here are some quick tips. Read More by shopping early.

Note Down Everything You Buy

I just bought a lovely new Christmas book. It’s a bright red Toy Story Moleskine, and it’s gorgeous 5 Ways To Kick Your Moleskine Notebook Up A Notch 5 Ways To Kick Your Moleskine Notebook Up A Notch Over the years, the Moleskine notebook has become a trademark staple for anyone dabbling in creative endeavors. In fact, the Moleskine is almost as iconic as the Apple laptop, the hipster glasses, and the daily... Read More .

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Holiday Cards Christmas

I’ve had a Christmas book since I was 11, and I get many benefits from it. At the front, I have a list of people I need to buy for — family, friends, colleagues — and I leave a gap between each name. I write down everybody’s presents, and mark them off as I pack them. At the back, I make a more extensive list of people to send Christmas cards to.

This way, I keep track of what I’ve bought already, and the number of gaps tells me my progress. Aside from having a notepad of memories, I can also see roughly how much I’ve spent on people in the past and factor that in for the coming festivities. That’ll make budgeting easier next year Make a Personal Budget on Excel in 4 Easy Steps Make a Personal Budget on Excel in 4 Easy Steps Read More , too.

It’s far from rocket science, but it’s well worth doing. By December, you may have forgotten what you picked up in October. Amid a panicked mess of postage dates 6 Apps To Keep Track Of Time-Related Events & Activities [iPhone] 6 Apps To Keep Track Of Time-Related Events & Activities [iPhone] I love iPhone apps that solve little problems which can often be worrisome if not addressed. How many times have you needed to know when the warranty ends on a product you purchased, or when... Read More , wrapping, and planning Christmas events, this notebook is an oasis of organization 8 Time Saving Organization Tips for Your Christmas This Year 8 Time Saving Organization Tips for Your Christmas This Year It's the most wonderful time of the year – and the most stressful! If Christmas is becoming too much to handle, there are a few things you can do to ease your worries. Read More , and that’s something we all need.

The worry, however, is that you’ll lose the book. If you prefer to keep things digital, you could make similar notes on a private blog How to Use a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog for Project Management How to Use a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog for Project Management Read More or even a localized or cloud-based notebook app 7 Ways To Keep A Personal Journal 7 Ways To Keep A Personal Journal Journaling is an exercise for the mind and it has several proven benefits, but it can also seem difficult to do. This is primarily due to the overwhelming feeling of having to journal – it... Read More .

Ignore or Budget for Black Friday

Black Friday’s a relatively new phenomenon: what’s supposed to be a time to treat others has turned into a spending spree for those who want to buy something solely for themselves. Come on: how many of us buy other people TVs, laptops, or smartphones for Christmas?! Family, maybe, but rarely friends!

You’ve got two main options to deal with Black Friday. The first is to ignore it completely. After all, if you’ve done most of your holiday shopping early, there’s little point (unless you are shopping for yourself). It’s not that difficult to stop visiting brick-and-mortar stores for 24 hours, but it’s harder when faced with discounts from Amazon and company.

If that’s too “scorched Earth” for you, browse to your heart’s content… but with a strict budget. Set your Christmas notepad open in front of you so you know who you still need presents for, and write down how much you intend to spend on each. Do not cross that line.

Don’t get caught up in the adrenaline rush of bargains: it’s bad for your wallet, and it’s bad for your security Five Ways To Protect Yourself And Not Get Scammed On Black Friday Five Ways To Protect Yourself And Not Get Scammed On Black Friday Read More .

Buy Non-Perishable Food in November

Christmas shopping isn’t all about presents 15 Crucial Terms Every Online Shopper Should Know 15 Crucial Terms Every Online Shopper Should Know The world of online shopping evolves so quickly, it can be hard to keep up with the terminology. Here are a handful of terms that we think everyone should know for their own good! Read More . You also have to factor in the indulgences of the day: food and drink.

That’s why the malls are busy on December 24: people forget that stores are generally only shut for one day and think they need to buy enough food to last a month. It’s a futile exercise. Sure, get milk, bread, and any other perishables a couple of days before the main event, but nobody needs to rush out for cleaning supplies, beverages, or snacks on Christmas Eve.

Buy non-perishables as early as possible. Discounts on festive favorites typically begin in October, but they kick into another gear once Halloween is out of the way. Keep an eye out, because bargains will be rolled out on items throughout November.

Just make sure you check expiration dates!

If you don’t fancy hitting the normal shops this early, however, you could try Amazon Pantry Is Amazon Prime Pantry Worth Your Money? 5 Things You Need to Know Is Amazon Prime Pantry Worth Your Money? 5 Things You Need to Know Prime Pantry lets you shop for groceries right from the Amazon homepage—but is it a good deal? Will it save you money? We look at all the facts. Read More , as long as you’re a Prime member 6 Amazon Prime Benefits You Might Be Ignoring Right Now 6 Amazon Prime Benefits You Might Be Ignoring Right Now Scratch the surface. Amazon Prime has so many more benefits that people have forgotten about or simply don't realize exist. Read More .

Practice Basic Saving Techniques

While we’re on the subject of Amazon How to Get the Best Discounted Deals on Amazon How to Get the Best Discounted Deals on Amazon There are lots of great deals on Amazon, but you need to know how to find them. Here are some tips and tools to help. Read More , the time of year doesn’t matter: compare prices on whatever you’re buying.

Everyone automatically goes to Amazon 10 Super Ways to Save When Shopping on Amazon 10 Super Ways to Save When Shopping on Amazon There are plenty of ways to save some bucks when shopping on Amazon that you may or may not know about. Read More , and in a lot of cases, the retail giant offers the best prices. Nonetheless, you won’t lose anything by checking out alternatives. Sometimes that means looking at third-party sellers, and that’s well worth it — as long as you know your rights and their return policies. Similarly, if you go straight to the dealer on eBay, for instance 10 Tips to Shop on eBay Like a Boss 10 Tips to Shop on eBay Like a Boss These 10 eBay tips will help you optimize your searching and bidding to save you a lot of money on the items you're looking for. Read More , you may save a few dollars.

Whenever I buy from Amazon, I always check out CamelCamelCamel, which tracks the cost of items 3 Best Amazon Price Watch Trackers For The Bargain Hunter 3 Best Amazon Price Watch Trackers For The Bargain Hunter Read More so you can see whether they’re unusually high or low. You might miss out if you don’t snipe products at just the right moment, but you could save a huge amount of cash if you buy at the right time. Let’s take LEGO for example 6 Ways Lego Can Organize Your Technology 6 Ways Lego Can Organize Your Technology In 1932, a small toy company in Billund, Denmark launched a line of plastic bricks which could be interconnected in order to build structures and shapes. It was called Lego. Read More : their advent calendars are always a treat, but come November, they’re either sold out or command too much money.

So buy them in September. Or earlier, if the price is right!

CamelCamelCamel

Before you buy anything, no matter where, search for savings codes #Cheap: 12 Ways To Use Social Media To Find Great Shopping Deals #Cheap: 12 Ways To Use Social Media To Find Great Shopping Deals Saving money without leaving your favorite social networks. Is that possible? Read More — someone might’ve spotted a bargain you missed. In rarer cases, online stores (including Apple) offer discounts if you leave items in your shopping car but don’t check out. They figure you’re having second thoughts and that offering money will push you into a sale.

Set Alerts for Sales

If you don’t fancy frequent visits to price tracking websites, alerts are available for Amazon and everywhere else.

For Amazon, check out OnlinePriceAlert, which emails you when a specific product hits a target price within 30 days. Since its inception in 2008, the service has saved customers over $1,000,000. You could use this in conjunction with CamelCamelCamel to determine a reasonable target value.

It’s fairly easy to find bargains on other sites too. First, subscribe to sites’ newsletters: they always inform regular customers when a sale is imminent. Zavvi, for instance, sends emails most days, either with savings or steelbook releases.

You can also use Google Alerts to find good deals and coupon codes. There’s a real art to perfecting these alerts How to Save Time and Money When Shopping With Google Alerts How to Save Time and Money When Shopping With Google Alerts As far as saving money, Google Alerts can be used to notify you of recent product listings, new product reviews, or big promos and sales. Read More , but it’s definitely worth it. Just remember to check your email regularly!

Start on Boxing Day

I’m serious! This obviously won’t help you if you’re scrambling to finish up your shopping in November, but come December next year, you’ll be pleased you started shopping early.

January sales commence as soon as the shops reopen after Christmas, so take advantage of them — not just for yourself, but for others. Look for unusual things so your recipient is less likely to pick up the same item during the following months. Try stores you know they don’t frequent or that are away from their normal routes.

Christmas Socks

Of course, you shouldn’t have next Christmas sorted before this New Year’s Eve, but far too many folk are put off buying presents due to a perceived stigma. It’s perfectly acceptable to pick things up in January, July, or September. In fact, the thought that’s gone into purchasing an ideal product is preferable to a rushed job in December.

Plus, if you forget about someone’s birthday or anniversary until shortly before the event, you’ve got a backlog of gifts ready!

Check What You’ve Still Got From Last Year

We’ve all done it: you pick up reams of Christmas cards Design Your Own Christmas Cards with These 6 Websites Design Your Own Christmas Cards with These 6 Websites Christmas is right around the corner, and that means Christmas card season is here! Why not design your own cards this year for a personal touch? We show you how. Read More , tags, and wrapping paper… then discover a stash burrowed away in the basement.

Before you buy cards or wrapping paper, dig out any boxes that are likely to have supplies. This is especially important if you remember picking things up in the January sales. Festive essentials will be heavily discounted once December’s flown by, so head to the shops, buy as much as you can, and store them away in a designated box, clearly labelled “X-MAS.”

One of the biggest savings you’ll be able to take advantage of will be on Christmas crackers, a U.K. holiday tradition. From Boxing Day, these decrease in price gradually, so you could either use them over New Year, or keep them to one side ready for your next annual dose of Christmas dinner. You’ll be able to get high-end crackers for a fraction of their original price. Just make sure they don’t contain food!

Making Christmas Merry?

Getting Christmas shopping out of the way early might seem strange if you’re used to leaving it to the last minute, but it can save you a lot of stress and money.

Christmas isn’t about presents Learn All About Santa, Just In Time For Christmas [Weird & Wonderful Web] Learn All About Santa, Just In Time For Christmas [Weird & Wonderful Web] Read More , after all. Once everything’s done, you can sit down and enjoy the festivities with your loved ones.

Have you got further tips for saving when Christmas shopping? Do you get yours done by July? Or do you leave it until Christmas Eve? Let us know in the comments below!

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