Frugal shopping for the holiday season

Halloween is around the corner, stuffing and cranberry sauce line supermarket shelves and Christmas lights are being untangled nationwide as holiday season swings into full gear. 

As the holidays approach, one thing is certain: most people will be spending a little bit more than they usually do throughout the year. The financial burden of the holiday season can be tough, but it is possible to overcome. With some savvy shopping, a well planned holiday season can result in some extra savings this year. In order to learn more about how to shop frugally these next few months, read the advice below:

1. Start as soon as possible
Shopping ahead is a great way to take advantage of sale and seasonal pricing trends, according to Bankrate. In addition to that, it is a great way to avoid using your credit card. Most people use credit cards during the holiday season because they are purchasing so much at once. By starting early and spreading your shopping trips out, you can reduce the need for assistance from plastic. In addition, many summer-oriented products are priced at bargain levels right now. Shopping at this time for items on sale is the perfect way to avoid spending too much while staying away from credit card debt. 

2. Make a list
Write down each person that you'd like to shop for this holiday season, Real Simple suggested. Along with their names, also note what you would like to get them, and how much you are willing to spend on each individual person. Even include people who you may give an extra holiday tip too, such as your baby sitter. Listing every extra dollar you're willing to spend this holiday season will help you maintain a budget, and ultimately spend more frugally. 

3. Review your credit report
If you do plan on using a credit card, make sure that it will be accepted. Bankrate explained that bout 25 percent of credit reports have a serious error. Mistakes such as this can result in a refusal of credit, and ultimately become an obstacle to your holiday shopping - as well as many other things. The interest rate applied to the purchase you make over the holidays will be tied to your credit report, and if it isn't good, those rates will likely be high. If you review your credit report soon, you will have a chance to fix the mistake before the holidays. Or you can look into an alternative credit score, such as the one offered by PRBC that takes into account alternate data such as utilities payments and cell phone bills. 

4. Do your research
If you don't know exactly what to get someone, get on the computer and do some online research, Real Simple recommended. There are a number of websites that you can turn to in order to find reviews on all sorts of products, including and In addition, there are a number of price comparison websites as well. Take advantage of a combination of both in order to determine which gift works best, at the lowest price. 

5. Pick up decorations early
In addition to purchasing presents, you will likely be investing in some decorations for the holiday season. Just like the gifts, make sure that you purchase decorative pieces early in order to save money, Bankrate noted. Buy the decorations that will spruce up your home early, in order to hunt down great deals and save time. The earlier you shop, the better the selection will be and the more time you will have to be creative with your home's adornments. 

Use these tips in order to make holiday shopping a little easier on your bank account. 

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