By Cyndi Roberts
It's never too early to start getting ready for the holidays.
December can be such a busy month, it just makes sense to spread the work and
the expense out over a longer period of time.
Without a bit of planning, the holidays can use up our time and
our money, making for a very stressful time.
Do you do a lot of cooking and baking at holiday time? Does
everyone always come to your home for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinner?
Obviously, it would be great if the guests helped out with the cooking, but if
that's not possible, try doing as much as you can ahead of time.
For instance, if you plan to make cornbread dressing or
stuffing, make and crumble your cornbread in October and put it in a zipper bag
in the freezer.
Pie crusts and even some types of whole pies (apple pie, for
one) can be made ahead and frozen.
Even your turkey can be cooked ahead of time and put in the
If you bake cookies, etc. for gifts, start early stocking up on
the ingredients and spread the cost out over several weeks.
Most cookie dough can be mixed and put in the freezer until
you're ready to bake. Or keep it in the fridge and bake a batch or two along
whenever you already have the oven on.
Love to send Christmas cards, but somehow don't find the time to
write as many as you'd like? Start now by addressing the envelopes while you're
watching your favorite TV show in the evening.
Then go ahead and write a little note inside one or two during
your morning break, or while you're waiting in line to pick up the kids from
school. You'll have them all done before you know it!
Here's a way to save money on Christmas cards: Cut the fronts
off the cards you received last year and send them as postcards. (Assuming the
back is not written on, of course) Postage for postcards is cheaper.
Last year's Christmas cards can also be cut up and used to make
gift tags. Give your older kids a pair of decorative scissors and tell them to
Make your Christmas gift list early and start saving a few
dollars every week, so you don't need to use a credit card when you do your
Some folks even try to buy or make a gift every week or so all
year long and by December all that's left to do is the wrapping!
The most important part of saving time and money at any time of
year is planning. Make your plan and stick to it and have a stress-free, frugal
Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another" bi-weekly
newsletter and founder of the website of the same name. Visit
http://www.cynroberts.com to find creative tips, articles, and a free
e-cooking book. Subscribe to the newsletter and receive the free e-course
"Taming the Monster Grocery Bill".