Christmas is the time of giving, but Christmas shopping often leads to overspending and even adding to ones debt. You want to give great gifts to everyone on your list, but making that happen is so much easier said than done. That isn't a good reason to ignore your need to save money and just go all out. Instead you can make a plan, stick to it, and follow some simple steps to saving money while buying more gifts. Your Christmas shopping can work for you and it doesn't have to be as hard as it sounds!

Make a List.
The first thing you need to do to make your Christmas shopping a success, financially, is to make a list. You want to include everyone that you want to buy gifts for. Make sure that you rank them from most important to least important. For example my children are most important at the top of the list and my husband's co-workers are on the list, but at the bottom. By doing this you will make it easier to change how much you plan to spend on each person and you can drop people off of the list as needed. While this may not be easy this will make a huge difference in your Christmas shopping and even how stressful the holiday is.

Make a Budget.
Next you need to sit down with your significant other and work out a budget. Figure out how much you can really afford to spend on your Christmas shopping and not how much you would like to spend. Then assign a dollar amount to each person on your list. It is really important that you plan well and that you stick to it while you are doing your Christmas shopping so that you don't have a problem later.

Don't Go Into Debt.
While it is easy to whip out the plastic for your Christmas shopping it is dangerous. Your best bet is to store it somewhere out of the way so that you don't have the temptation to use it. Don't care it with you because, when you use your credit card for your Christmas shopping you are making your holiday cost significantly more with the interest. While it can be hard to stick to what you can really afford, it will save you a lot of money in the end.

Make as Many Gifts as You Can.
There are many people on your list who will do well with hand made gifts. In this realm your Christmas shopping for them would be small. There are tons of great ideas that you can put together for a few dollars or so. You can use these to cover people you want to give a gift to, but that you don't want to spend a lot of money on. Check out the article Gifts You Can Make and Give During The Holidays for more ideas and information on making your own gifts.

Hit Sales.
Next you want to hit the sales. Much of your Christmas shopping can be done during the sales. This can be very helpful in saving money, but only if you stick with your budget and the list of people you are planning on giving gifts to. You won't be able to stick to your budget if you decide you should spend $50 on grandma instead of $25 because she would really like one of the items that you found on sale. It is also important that you don't find items that you want to buy and then rack your brain to find someone you can give them too. Remember that saving money on your Christmas shopping requires that you be careful with how much you spend and who you spend it on.

Second Hand.
While there are a lot of people out there who look down on second hand and few who think about it as part of their Christmas shopping, this can really make your money go farther, especially where the kids are concerned. You can check out Craigslist, local classifieds, eBay, and second hand stores to find things that are in good condition for many people on your list. There are even times when you can find things that are like new for a fraction of the cost. There are a lot of slightly used items out there that are sure to please and you can save a lot of money this way.

Shop Around.
By starting early you give yourself some time to shop around and compare prices. Check out what your local stores have to offer and compare it to what you can buy online (don't forget to include shipping when buying online). Then choose the best prices for great savings on your Christmas shopping.

Choose Smaller Ticket Items.
If your child is like mine then they have a million things that they want and many of them cost a lot of money. However, it is best to choose one larger present and several smaller ones while Christmas shopping. They are going to want a lot of presents and you will make a greater impact with more packages. If you can't afford a larger ticket item and smaller presents then buy the smaller ones! Also remember to take advantage of your child's age. If you have an older child and a younger one don't feel bad for spending less on the younger child. Also buy toys at the dollar store if you child is still young enough to appreciate them! This can make your Christmas shopping more fun as you load a basket with items that your child is sure to like without breaking the bank!

You can save money with your Christmas shopping. You need to make sure that you make a plan including a budget. Then stick to it to make your trips successful. You should avoid using your credit card and only buy what you can really afford. By making some gifts, hitting sales, buying slightly used, shopping around, and choosing smaller ticket items you can save money and buy more! Your Christmas shopping can be a success, both for those you are giving gifts to and for your budget and pocket book.