2 Weeks 'Til Christmas, 3 Ways to Stretch Your Dollar

It’s two weeks until Christmas and we bet you’ve still got some spending to do -- and you’re probably wondering how to pay for it. After all, if you’re one of the millions in severe credit-card debt or worried about your job, it would be nice to not spend anything. But no matter how nonexistent our budgets this year, we’re still going to spend something. The key, Carmen says, is to spend smart, using a strategy to manage the pressure of getting into more debt.

The first, and best, way to stretch your dollar and manage the pressure is to prioritize your needs and situation. If you have urgent needs such as massive debt or no job, focus your energy and money on alleviating that stress first.

The second way to stretch your holiday dollar is to focus your spending on a gift that everyone can enjoy. A $200 Christmas budget for a family of four might not seem like much, but putting that money toward a magnificent dinner might be an alternative. It’s O.K. if you think differently this year because this is a very different holiday.

Finally, set a budget and know your strategy. If your budget is$500 and you have 12 people to give for, make like a celebrity tabloid and construct an A-list, B-list and C-list. This way, you can determine who gets the biggest piece of your budget pie. If you decide to spend more on one person, make sure it comes from someone else and not outside your budget!

Time is money when it comes to the holidays. Adam Pash from Lifehacker.com suggests three ways to save time – and in effect, money – this season.

1. Shop online. You save time spent waiting in lines and money in discounts only available on the web.

2.Tackle work commitments early. Think about events that could get in your way as the holidays approach and try to take care of them in advance to free up time.

3. Prepare for guests ahead of time. Write down any supplies or gifts you need in advance and knock the errands out before crunch time.