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Tips For A Stress & Debt-Free Holiday Season

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The next few weeks are going to be the biggest and busiest for holiday shopping.

Time is ticking – get organized and get something for everyone on your list.

This may seem like a daunting task, but experts say if you follow a few simple rules and plan ahead, you can stay both stress and debt-free.

“It lowers your stress level, because you know how much youre spending. Youre not going to walk out bankrupt from the holidays,” Chris Burns, financial planner and host of “More than Money,” told CBS2s Jenna DeAngelis.

No. 1 – Make a list and check it twice. Decide which of your loved ones are getting a gift and stick to a budget for each person.

“It forces you to be creative, right? Like if you have a boundary, now you have to think and be creative about the gifts you give, so the gift giving gets better,” said Burns.

No. 2 – Compare prices.

When youre out shopping, use your phone to check prices online. The item may be cheaper somewhere else.

Many retailers offer a price-matching guarantee, so it pays to do some research.

“Use the internet to your advantage. Go on and price match company vs. company, because youll end up getting a far better deal that can translate to a lot of extra money in January,” Burns said.

No. 3 – Limit your spending and give back to a good cause. Take some of the funds that would have gone to presents and donate it to a non-profit instead.

“Have your kids actually help think through what that non-profit is, right? That will be a lasting memory, probably way more than just another video game,” said Burns.

If youre ordering gifts online, mark your calendars – December 14 is the official “free shipping day.”

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