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A How-To Guide For Serious Holiday Budgeting

["emma roberts", "money"]
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It's the most wonderful(ly expensive) time of the year.

Well, that time of the year is coming around again. Before we know it, there will be twinkling lights, candy canes and reindeer galore decking the streets of our home towns. While this time of year is often comforting and joyful, it can also be a serious drag when it comes to your paycheck.

Here, we're listing off some creative ways for you to save money this holiday season. Look, we know that $5 can add up really quickly. We're here to help you manage your finances this time around #LikeABoss.

DIY - Do It Yourself

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This is one of our favorite tips. We like to say, "why buy it when you can make it?" These days, Pinterest, Etsy and so many other sites are proving to us that we can have nice things without dropping a major dollar on them. Perhaps you want to take on jewelry making -- buy a kit! Beautiful yarn wall-hangings? Head to Hobby Lobby! No matter what craft you're trying to perfect, give it a few test drives before you start on the one you're gifting. Once you've perfected your art, you'll be cranking them out in no time.

Another positive? The thought. When you gift this item, the person receiving it will know that you took time out of your crazy busy life to make them something. That's special, and that really matters. It's a WIN/WIN. 😉

Think twice before charging it to credit

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We've all been there. That place where you have a LOT of credit left and it sort of, kind of feels like free money? Don't do it. We repeat do not do it. We understand that you want to get the best of the best for your loved ones, but this is a time to be a tiny bit selfish. It is understood that it will feel amazing to give wonderful, expensive gifts... but how will it feel on Jan. 1 when you get your first statement? Do you want to start 2017 in debt?

Regift...

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Okay, this might sound terrible, but remember that really nice bottle of wine you got from your coworker? GIFT THAT SHIT. There is no better way to save money than not spending any at all. Think about the random nice unopened alcohol/candy/etc. that you have and utilize it! Desperate times call for desperate measures, my friend.

Never underestimate the power of intangibles

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By intangibles, we basically mean food. If you can bake a MEAN chocolate chip cookie, bake 100! Go to the dollar store and buy a few adorable tins and fill them with your cookies. Another idea: puppy chow. Make a huge batch, throw it in mason jars with some cute ribbon and call yourself Lauren Conrad. You're practically a Martha Stewart in the making, anyway.

Skip the cutie Christmas cards

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Okay, we all know you have fabulous taste in stationary BUT postage basically costs you the same as a trip to the grocery store. Skip the cute holiday cards and design a cool e-card instead. Wow your family members by creating something funky and personalized that will deliver right to their iPhone! Spend less time, save more money.

Use the "Secret Santa" exchange with your friends

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If you have a great big group of friends, chances are that you're a wee bit stressed when it comes to shopping for your pals. Worry not! Secret Santa is the key to your happiness. Coordinate a gift exchange with a certain dollar amount for your friends to all buy one gift for a secret person. Not only is this fun for everyone, but it might also give you a chance to be really creative and thoughtful when selecting the gift for your recipient!

Finally, make a budget... and stick to it!

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If you write out every person you are shopping for on a list, write a dollar amount next to their name. When it comes time to shop for this person, brainstorm some ideas in your price range and then look for discounts/coupons/etc so you can save even more money. That being said, if your budget for one person is $40 and you find something amazing for them for $25, that does not mean you have to find another item to fulfill the budget! A penny saved is a penny earned!

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