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It's never too early to start budgeting for the holidays 

You just finished back-to-school shopping, but it's not

You just finished back-to-school shopping, but it's not too early to make a plan for holiday spending so you don't end up in debt. Photo Credit: Sadeugra

Yes, you just finished back-to-school shopping, but it's not too early to make a plan for holiday spending so you don’t end up in debt, again.

Get going: Karen Ford, author of "Money Matters," shares her strategy. “Make a list of the people and items you plan on purchasing for them with the estimated cost of the items.”

Add up the total cost, divide it by three months, for September, October and November. “This is how much you need to save each month. Begin looking for those items; you’ll likely get a better deal if it’s on sale,” Ford says.

Make it easy: Schedule transfers from your checking to your savings account. “You don’t see the money going into your checking account and therefore are not tempted to spend it,” says Danial Tariq, vice president at Quontic Bank in Astoria, Queens.

Go cash only: To do this, save now. “Come December, only permit yourself to spend out of that special fund. Once it's gone, it's gone,” says R.J. Weiss, a certified financial planner in Geneva, Illinois. You increase the odds that you spend less when you buy with cash. 

Hustle: Sell clothes, electronics and toys that are collecting dust at a garage sale or on Craigslist. 

Says Bakersfield, California-based consumer finance expert Andrea Woroch: “Take on a flexible side hustle that doesn’t have to interfere with your day job or time with family, such as dog sitting through sites like Rover.com. You can earn $1,000 a month welcoming dogs into your home, which will ensure you don't have to hold anything back this holiday season.”

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