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OK, I'll admit that I'm off to an early start, but with the future so uncertain these days, planning for the holiday season--an absolute (yet expensive) certainty--seems wise. Christmas will definitely come again, but the question is: What will you be able to afford?

So now is the time to start building a holiday gift fund. That way next year you can avoid the post-holiday debt you may be paying off right now. You may barely notice the sacrifices these 4 painless ways to save for the holidays require, but you will enjoy the cash in December.

Working from home has its benefits, but they aren't always financial. And those of us who are self-employed work-at-home moms can't always predict our financial circumstances. So planning to have your Christmas fund upfront rather than paying it off later is a smart move in this economy.

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Laureen Miles Brunelli


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