smart spending

8 ways to trim your Christmas gift list

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It may be too late to do it this year, but promise yourself you'll be on the lookout for bargains and special gifts year-round so that when 2014 nears an end, you'll have the bulk of your holiday gifts purchased and ready for wrapping.

Not only does it really save money (think post-holiday sales when stuff is marked down as much as 90 percent), but it also keeps you from making those last-minute impulse purchases. And it's easier on your budget to buy one or two bargain-priced gifts a month instead of trying to do it all at once. Just stay away from foodstuffs, trendy items that are likely to be passe in 12 months and children's clothing because their sizes change so fast.

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