It's not too late to start shopping for Christmas

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) –  Christmas may be more than two months away, but that does not mean you should not start planning now.

News Leader 9's Consumer Watch team has compiled a few tips that could save you time and money.

First of all the key to planning for the holidays is to get ahead of the game -- which should have happened months ago, but as we always say, it's never too late to start, especially when it comes to saving. While planning, set a budget for everything – gifts, travel and food. Whatever you have to buy set a budget and stick to it.

Our next tip: If you can't afford it, don't do it. Tough times often require  tough choices, but think of it this way, spending less money may mean, spending more quality time with your family.

Third, when it comes to shopping for gifts, don't forget about deals and discounts and not just the ones stores advertise. Try looking for clearance items now that may work as nice presents later.

Fourth, keep coupons, rebates and even gift cards in mind to use when you shop.

Fifth: Cash is king.
Don't swipe your credit card for stuff you won't be able to afford to pay back.

At the same time, if you need to buy something online and are worried about tracking, plastic may be the way to go.

Finally, honor the traditions, but don't be afraid to start new ones. Change can be cost effective and even a little fun.

Speaking of fun, check out this link on our website ["Holiday Helper"], it features lists of hot toys this season, recipes, and even additional shopping tips.

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