Christmas is almost here and hopefully your holiday shopping is almost done.  The holidays can definitely be a stressful time of the year with the pressure to find the perfect gift and the financial stress of having to buy gifts for everyone on your list.  So how do you survive the stress of the holidays and how do you afford to purchase the perfect gift for everyone on your list? The answer is simple, with a little bit of planning. Planning is the key to achieving every goal, both personal and financial, that we set out to achieve.

Whether you are planning your holiday shopping expenses, saving for next semester’s tuition or trying to afford your next vacation planning is always the key to success. Financial planning makes your financial life a lot easier because having a little bit of expenses over a long period of time is a lot easier to manage than having one big expense all at once.

Save for the holidays with these affordable strategies:

– Start Saving in April.  After the New Year starts give yourself some time to relax after the holidays and try to make it through the cold winter months with a smile on your face. As soon as spring starts and the weather starts to get warmer you should start saving for your holiday shopping.  April is 8 months away from December; this gives you plenty of time to start saving and to start planning your holiday shopping strategy.

– Think about Christmas in July.  The hot July weather means that December is a mere 5 months away. This is a good time to check in on your holiday savings progress.  It’s also a good time to start thinking about what gifts you want to buy and who will be on your holiday list this year.  Planning your holiday shopping ahead of time allows you to not only save for your upcoming expenses but it also allows you to spread your expenses over a few months instead of making a lump sum expense in December and possibly getting into debt over your holiday shopping.  Giving gifts to everyone on your list is very generous thought, but it’s not worth getting into debt.

– Make a List and Start Shopping in October.  Once October comes around it’s time to once again check in on your holiday progress. With Christmas only 2 months away you should be well into your holiday planning.  Who is on your list? How much money have you managed to save for your holiday shopping? What is your holiday spending budget? Once all of these questions are answered you can start your holiday shopping.  Your holiday budget should also include any travel expenses that you will incur in order to spend the holidays with your family and friends.  You may have to spend a little less on gifts so that you can afford to travel to spend time with your family and friends during the holidays.

Remember that planning your holiday savings, spending and budget will help you avoid getting into debt during the holidays.

Happy Holidays from your friends at Green Panda.

Photo by oakleyoriginals

Tahnya Kristina

Tahnya Kristina

Tahnya is 30 years old and lives in Montreal Quebec. She graduated in 2005 from Concordia University, and she currently works for a major International Financial Institution. She recently launched You can follow her on Twitter @TahnyaP.