This is the time to plan what you want to spend for the holidays, says Foster.
"Probably the most important thing financially for the holiday season is (to) sit down and figure out, 'How much can I afford to spend this year?'" Foster says. "A lot of people do it in reverse. They spend and say, 'I hope this doesn't wreck my budget.'"
Include the little things: decorations, cards, postage -- whatever extras you pick up for your holiday festivities.
If Santa needs to trim his budget this year, now's the time to decide how you want to handle it, whether the reductions include limits on the cost or number of gifts, giving homemade goodies, pulling names from a hat, or giving to children only.
Once you decide what you can handle, contact family and friends well in advance of the holidays, and work out the ground rules for giving gifts, says Foster.