Today is Halloween, and tomorrow, the wonderful world of retail will transform everything into holiday magic.  It’s a fact, we get season rushed every year towards the consumerist crush that is the holiday season.  It’s easy for everything to become an exercise in excess: We eat more, we drink more, we go out more, we buy special clothes for big events, and we purchase a lot of stuff. Then in January comes the post game slump, often in terms of a credit card (or bank account) hangover. But before the racing gun goes off, announcing the sprint to the holiday season, let’s consider how much money can be saved with a little thought and preparedness, just like the Scout’s motto: always be prepared!

Here are 11 easy ways save a ton of money over the next two months:

  1. You know that Halloween candy that’s leftover, or that your kid brought home?  Save some of it to melt down and use for some holiday baking.  Purchase some nice containers from your local dollar store, and you have a great gift.  Get some inspiration here
  2. Start a re gift drawer, and use it.  Been gifted white wine, but you only drink red?  Save it to gift over the holidays, or to use as the perfect host gift, or to stock the bar the next time you have guests.
  3. Set a planned budget, and stick to it.  It’s easier to plan gifts when you set a price range, and don’t forget taxes and delivery fees. Keep track of your expenses in an Excel spreadsheet in order to stay the course.
  4. When planning your budget set aside an extra $50-$100 for unexpected gifts, odds are you’ll end up forgetting someone and want to grab something last minute when they hand you a gift (or dip into that re gift drawer).
  5. Use kid’s art work or newspaper with fun holiday themed stamps or stickers to save money on wrapping paper.
  6. Gift experiences, sites like Groupon and Livingsocial have great outside of the box gifts at a fraction of the cost.
  7. Buy in bulk to save money (but calculate it out to make sure you’re really saving).
  8. Use your rewards…cash in rewards for gift cards to avoid spending what you don’t have, but remember to order well in advance to ensure it arrives in time.
  9. Gift meaningful photos, no one prints photos any more, share a great pic with friends and family.
  10. Talk to friends, particularly adults, about planning a night out together perhaps in January, to beat the post-holiday blahs instead of purchasing a bunch of gifts.
  11. Send e-cards, save on paper and postage!