September usually heralds Christmas season in our country and shops everywhere start enticing us with Christmas music while putting goodies on sale and displaying new inventories.
But wait. Make sure first that the things are really on sale. And do you really need it, want it, or would you really use it?
Audit your family's wardrobe first. Maybe there are enough hidden treasure in your closet to make you buy just one or two extra shirts for your boys, rather than five. Check the toys first. Check your appliances too. Take stock of what you have, what needs to be thrown away, what may be donated (or put on garage sale, or sold on Ebay) so you'll have a better grasp of what you already have.
Plus, spring cleaning at this point may make you realize what gifts you received that were cute, but also proved totally useless for you (maybe because it was too cute?). Let that guide you in your Christmas shopping for friends and relatives.
Take advantage of groupon deals (but check first if they're real deals) and Ebay or bazaar finds and slowly build on your Santa Claus sack... choose to give a small token instead to those you know can afford their own stuff. Consider baked goodies instead of lavishing other families with gifts. Consider, too, making your own newsletters or digital greeting cards instead of sending out tons that will only gather dust (and waste paper and ink).
Then, all the savings can go to tuning up your car, making repairs at home or finally making that big purchase for a family treat (think plasma tvs or an ice cream maker).
The cost of goods and our way of life has been constantly rising so we really have to be creative now in our gift-giving. Maximize your money and really have a Merry Christmas.