• Zip-top bags are essential when our family packs for holiday visiting. We use gallon-size bags for the kids’ outfits — top, bottoms, underclothes, etc. — and each bag holds one complete set. There is no suitcase chaos, as yesterday’s clothing goes in the bag, ready for laundry day when we get home. — Happy Traveling, JoAnn
• After-Christmas sales are a great time to buy not only gift wrap (look for solid colors that you can use all year long), holiday cards and decorations, but also next season’s winter wear. Things like scarves and gloves can be great bargains. And even coats can go on sale. Take advantage — especially if you have kids — and buy up.
• “Here is a wonderful shopping tip that’s especially useful during holiday shopping, but is something we do all year round: Spend your first hour or so browsing only. Nothing goes in the shopping cart or your bag, and no purchases. If after you are ready to buy, you still remember the things you ‘had to have,’ go back and make the purchases.” — M.M. in Arizona
• “I try to buy the same amount of presents for each of my grandchildren. I set a budget for each and that carries me throughout the year, as I like to shop early for sales. One thing I do, though, is to take into account the value of the item if I get a super great deal. I think it makes it fairer for the rest of them. I haven’t had any complaints!” — Grandma, via email
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