As the third quarter comes to an end, you may be starting to think about the end of the year. Although it seems far away, the holidays will be here before you know it. This can often be a stressful time of year, but it doesn’t have to be if you plan, and if you plan early!

Start by getting yourself organized. Write down every person you need to buy for. But that’s not all. Are you hosting a gathering this year? Write that down too. It’s important to think about all the ‘little’ things that add up quick like holiday cards, postage and decorations. If you are traveling this year, don’t forget those added expenses either.

Once your list is made think about your budget. Realistically how much can you afford to spend this year as a whole? Once you have an overall number, start dividing it up. How much will you spend on each person? If you haven’t saved throughout the year, consider saving now. Another option is looking at rewards you have earned. Maybe you have a KASASA account that earns rewards that you can use. If you shop frequently at certain stores, look at their loyalty program.

Stick to your budget and keep yourself organized by using a fun app like the Santa’s Bag App. This app will keep track of receipts, your budget for each person and what you have purchased. You can create shopping lists and the app will tell you if you are over or under budget too.

Think about ideal gifts for your family and friends. Although shopping in September seems early, you may find that there is a big sale for something you are looking to purchase. If that’s the case, buy it now. The holidays are generally the busiest time of year. If you have yourself organized with a list and budget there is no reason you can’t start buying early. This is a good way to reduce stress as the end of the year draws near. Not only that, but you can actually enjoy the holidays without worrying about your to-do list.

Because you are planning so early, you can also consider homemade gifts. You have plenty of time to create something special. This is a good way to reduce your overall spending. Since you have a well thought out plan you can also consider group gifts and get others to join before it’s too late.

The end of the year doesn’t have to be tough if you plan right, consider starting that plan today! Don’t forget to check out our KASASA accounts and start earning cash rewards that you can use towards your holiday spending.