It’s time! Get into the spirit and start thinking about the holidays, everything from cooking to entertaining to gift shopping to cards. Yikes!

Take a little time to plan ahead for the holidays, and you’ll save yourself immeasurable stress and certainly a lot of money. Make a date for yourself and head to a quiet spot with a pen and list-making paper. Let’s get started:

1) Figure out where you’re having your holidays. Are you traveling? Hosting? Either option takes planning when there are multiples involved. Minimize your stress now by delegating tasks to your spouse and other family members. We’re hosting, so I’m already thinking about how to split up meal prep and other tasks between the three families. How will you enjoy your guests instead of

2) Make a list for gifts, and think about a budget (either per person or overall). You can remember teachers and neighbors with a nice card and baked treat. Keep an eye out for price drops on toys for kids. Remember to include wrapping and shipping in your budget total.

3) Get started early with your holiday cards, if you plan to do them at all. Try to get a photo of the kids now, so that if it doesn’t work out, there’s plenty of time to try again. See my earlier post on Holiday Cards for ideas (even the idea of skipping it!).

4) Consider earning extra income between now and the holidays to ease your budget. Sell your clutter on Ebay or Cragislist.

How do you plan ahead for the holidays?