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Saving money is an excellent game plan to have this holidayseason. And there’s still plenty of time to take advantage ofholiday specials to stretch your budget.

Still don’t have a holidaysavings game plan? Make a list of all the holiday-relatedexpenditures you are expecting this year – this might be one timewhen procrastinating worked in your favor. Factor in funds forgifts, entertainment, decorations, activities, etc. and create abudget based on those expectations. Remember to add in some cashfor unexpected expenses, like that last-minute gift for theco-worker who never gave you anything before but decided to bestowa holiday gift on you this year. Once your budget is complete, planyour attack.

Make a list and check it twice

Create a list of every person you will need to buy a gift forthis year, from parents and grandparents to your child’s daycareprovider. Set a limit for what you are willing and able to spend oneach gift. It’s perfectly OK to plan to spend more on close lovedones, like your spouse and children, and less on more casual giftedsuch as your hairdresser. Stick to your spending plan and don’tallow impulse purchases to distract you from your focus.

You better shop around

As the big day approaches, it’s easy to begin feeling franticabout all the shopping you need to do. Don’t give in todesperation, however, and start overspending just to get the jobdone. Continue to comparison shop to find the best possible priceson the items on your list. Having the list will help in thisregard; it’s much easier to do online price comparisons when youknow exactly what you’re looking for. Likewise, don’t abandononline shopping because you think packages won’t arrive in time.Many online sellers offer expedited shipping as the holidaysapproach, and virtually all will tell you their “order by” deadlinein order to receive items in time for the holidays. Online shoppingis still one of the best, most cost-effective ways to holiday shop,and especially to comparison shop.

Stretch that budget

If you didn’t have the foresight to start a holiday savingsaccount back in June (and few among us did), you can still findsome extra cash laying aroundto help fund your holidays. American households have about $10billion total in loose change hiding in their homes – roughly $90per household – according to Coinstar.

Dust off your coin jar (most of us have one), empty yourwallets, dump the coins out of the bottom of your purse, look underthe sofa cushions and car floor mats, and cash that spare change ata Coinstar location. Coinstar will count your coins for free if youturn them into a gift card or eCertificate from top retailers, Lowe’s, Starbucks, Gap brands, iTunes and more. Justtake your coins to one of the iconic green kiosks and start addingsome extra heft to your holiday budget. For more information, or tofind a location near you visit

And remember, the holidays are about enjoying time with lovedones and sharing the spirit of the season. You still have time todeck the halls and spread goodwill if you follow a few simple stepstoward getting organized – better late, than never.