Woman with Shopping BagsThe holidays can be stressful with all of the planning (travel, meals, get-togethers.) Here are some tips to help you save time, money, and stress for your Christmas shopping.

Create a budget. It’s so easy to justify overspending during the holiday season. This year make a budget and stick to it! Keep track of your receipts as you shop to make sure you’re not overspending.

Don’t wait until the last minute. Avoid the last minute crowds and save yourself some time at the stores by starting your shopping earlier in the year. The closer to Christmas Day, the busier the stores are. Another way you can avoid crowds is to shop at off-peak hours. Stores will be less busy early in the morning on weekends or during the day on week days.

Use your card. Skip the cash or checks and use your debit or credit card. Using a debit or credit card can speed up your checkout process.

Buy extra. Even the most organized people occasionally forget to put someone on their list. Buy a few generic gifts so you’re not running back to the store later. If you have planned perfectly, reuse the gifts for birthday presents or even Christmas presents next year.

Shop online. Avoid crowds altogether and purchase your gifts online. Sometimes you can find better deals through online stores than brick and mortar stores. Be careful, though, make sure the online store is secure before you provide any information.