You would think since I write a column about frugal living that I would be a huge Black Friday fan.

You would think since I write a column about frugal living that I would be a huge Black Friday fan. However, for anyone who knows me knows that I do not wait until Black Friday to start my Christmas shopping. Preparing for Christmas throughout the year can be a lot easier on your budget during the Christmas shopping season.

The problem that I have with Black Friday is that it leads to a lot of impulsive buying. You buy items that you really do not need just because they are on sale. I typically start Christmas shopping for my family at the end of summer or early fall. I am always looking for items and tucking things away for the big day.

For my young children I purchase a lot of their Christmas presents on consignment. Buying used toys not only breathes new life into the item, it saves a fortune on the budget.

I also remind readers to keep the holidays simple. At our home, we love to teach our children the meaning of giving. We love giving presents to teachers, coaches, neighbors and friends. Typically are gifts are hand made. I find that having your children make the presents allows them to have more of an understanding about giving.

I also find this is a great time of year to purge your closets. Recently, I have been going through our children’s toys and either selling them or giving them away. The money that I have made from the selling of the toys goes back into our Christmas budget. Not only does this help declutter your home, but it also helps add to your budget.

If you are a last minute procrastinator and planned to join the masses on Black Friday I would encourage you to do one thing. The best piece of advice I could give you this holiday is to avoid using your credit card.

I find that when you use your credit card you tend to overspend and you will be paying for Christmas for months to come. I remind my readers that if you cannot afford it, you do not need it.
I would encourage all my readers to purchase their Christmas gifts with cash or debit cards. Being debt free this holiday is the best gift you can give yourself.

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