November 29, 2006 - Posted at 5:15 p.m. CST JONESBORO, AR -- Despite the flat economy, many shoppers are braving the stores...trying to "help out" Santa with his gift list. But can you survive the season of giving with out breaking the bank?
With the holidays soon here many people are starting to feel the financial stress of the holiday season. But you can lessen that anxiety by planning a few of your purchases in advance.
Timing sales can help you find the best bargains and don't be afraid to dig through the clearance rack to find a deal and smart shoppers start early.
"One of the things you can do is make a list of who you are going to buy for and what you are going to buy and what you intend to spend for that. then just try to keep that list and stay with it, that way you won't be too tempted to do much of the impulsive," said Craighead County Extension Agent Debbie DeRossitte.
Changing up the family gatherings can help you save a buck or two.
"One tradition is to buy ornaments for the other family for their tree that they can keep for year to year and these are less expensive things to do," said DeRossitte.
And if you are looking to cut costs...you can start in cyber space.
"A lot of people are sending email instead of cards and saving on the postage as well as the time it takes to address envelopes," said DeRossitte.
A donation in someone's name to a local charity often leaves a lasting impression...and it's a gift that keeps on giving. But if you're not sure exactly what they want...just hang on to the receipt.
"So you might carry an envelope in your handbag or in the car that is brightly colored has Christmas receipts in it, that way you will be able to exchange those receipts if you need too," said DeRossitte.
Consider the following tips for a more enjoyable holiday season: