92 Days to Christmas! Shop At Home, First

Friend Cindy, formerly of Flylady fame and now winging it at KellyAndCindy.com, has a great frugal saying that I've claimed for my own: "Shop at home first!"

Today, we'll do exactly that: check closets and drawers and boxes for holiday supplies, overlooked gifts, and all the holiday wrap-and-mail supplies we'll be needing in the weeks to come.

If we'll need it for Christmas, and we have it somewhere, today's the day we'll rout it all out and put it into the holiday lineup!

Gift items bought at the summer crafts fair. Stocking stuffers collected during the year. Gift wrap bought during last season's post-holiday clearance sales. Holiday cards or supplies for holiday letters. Stamps, mailing boxes, bubble wrap and packaging tape. Wherever they are, wherever they live, it's time to shop for them at home, first.

Use blank lined paper to note what you already have, and only then, add any missing items to the master shopping list. Shopping at home first pays off!

93 Days to Christmas! Set Up A Gift Closet

Do you keep a gift closet? To save money and cut gift-giving stress, you should!

A gift closet is a secret stash of gifts, ready for the giving. Think of it as a pantry for presents, a place to accumulate and store gifts bought year-round (and at attractive prices).

It doesn't have to be a dedicated closet; a gift closet can live in a covered box, an underbed storage unit, or a high shelf in a bedroom or den.

A well-seasoned gift closet is a giver's best friend. Find a great bargain at a clearance sale? Snap it up and entrust it to the gift closet for safe-keeping. Need a quick gift for an unexpected event? Shop the gift closet first!

An organized touch: print a free gift closet inventory form to keep track of stored gift items ... and get organized!

Gift Closet Guide: Get Organized for Frugal Gifts and Giving

94 Days to Christmas! Get a Gift Ideas Planner

Christmas gift lists are great organizational tools--as far as they go. Truly talented gift-givers, though, rely on more than a single list of name-to-gift; they harness the power of a gift ideas planner.

By keeping track of clothing sizes, color preferences, hobbies and interests, a gift ideas planner makes it easy to select just the right gift for each person on your Christmas gift list.

Stored in your Christmas planner, the gift ideas planner will be there to take notes--and keep them-- when gift-giving inspiration strikes.

Get a great idea about a gift someone needs? Add it to the list; it'll jog your memory when it's time to shop for birthday presents or Christmas gifts.

Print a Gift Ideas Planner

95 Days to Christmas! Make a Master Gift List

Holiday gifts can amount to a substantial outlay of time, energy and money. Keep tabs on holiday giving with a Master Gift List: a single, central listing of holiday gifts and giving.

A Master Gift List is the go-to source to organize Christmas giving. Added to your Christmas planner, it'll record gift recipients and gift ideas, while you track costs, gift sources and a running budget tally.

Form is not important! Print a free master gift list and tuck it into your Christmas planner. Cyber-savvy holiday planners tap a computer spreadsheet, or register with an online gift-list service to track Christmas gifts over the coming months.

Give your family the best gift of all--a debt-free Christmas--with a Master Gift List!

Master Gift List: A Holiday Shopper's Best Friend

96 Days to Christmas! Focus on Holiday Values

As we begin to think about the holiday season ahead, there's a crucial question to consider. What do you really want for Christmas?

Our ideas may differ in the details, but most of us want much the same thing: a seasonal celebration focused on faith, family and friends. We want the excitement of the season without the disruption that too often comes with it.

We want to draw closer to those around us, not to be thrust apart by hectic schedules. We want to enjoy as well as prepare, and to keep the Christmas season in a manner that is joyous and spiritually centered.

How to tune into that holiday of your dreams? Take time today to focus on your family's holiday values.

This simple exercise--performed once privately, and a second time with family--will arm you against those forces that steal the joy from the season. Ready to focus on what the Christmas season is really about?

Before The Season: Focus on Holiday Values

97 Days to Christmas! Settle Into A Holiday Planning Center

In the weeks to come, planning for the Christmas season moves into high gear. To get into the seasonal swing in comfort, find a place in your home for an activity center devoted to Christmas planning.

Whether you choose a dedicated corner, chair or totable basket, make a home for Christmas planning materials--and the grace notes that inspire the holiday spirit.

Having a comfortable, usable spot for Christmas organizing raises the spirits--and makes it easy to list, plan, decide and organize your family's celebration.

Get Organized! Create A Christmas Planning Center

98 Days to Christmas! Create a Holiday Budget

For many families, Christmas comes but once a year--then lingers on for months! Credit card bills arrive shortly after season’s end, not to be paid off until the following summer. Grocery budgets groan under the burden of holiday meals and baking supplies.

Nearly two-thirds of American families don't know the true cost of their own Christmas celebration--and if they did, they'd be shocked. That much ... for a single day?

Fight the seasonal spending spree with the financial tool of choice: a Christmas budget.

Using a written holiday budget to track Christmas spending brings a built-in reality check to seasonal decisions--and it can be fun to squeeze the most holiday joy out of the smallest expenditures!

This year, take charge of holiday spending and give your family the best gift of all: a debt-free christmas.

Santa Savings: Make A Holiday Budget For A Debt-Free Christmas

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