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Starting your holiday shopping BEFORE Black Friday will not only help you beat the crowds, but it can also save you some cash.

We all know we should wear comfy shoes, but there is a lot more we need to consider before heading out to shop.

“Number one is setting a spending limit,” Blair said. “Before we set out to the store or get on that website, make sure you have everybody’s name down that you’re going to buy for. Make sure you have the amount that you’re going to spend on that person. That way, it keeps us to a limit and keeps us on a budget. And we don’t overspend going through Christmas.”

As for smaller gift giving, like for your babysitter, teacher or mailman, Blair said go for a gift card. It’s a great way to stick to your budget and saves a lot of guess work.

Next, try to avoid hidden fees online.

shutterstock_117998884“You want to make sure you’re using a reputable website, when you do use a website,” Blair said. “More than 60 percent of consumers will go on a website and shop online. So you just want to avoid the hidden fees of maybe shipping and handling, or things that you weren’t aware of as you’re purchasing going forward.”

And though it may not seem fitting with the “Christmas Spirit”…. be a Scrooge.

“Be a Scrooge when it comes to yourself,” Blair said. “A lot of people who walk through the stores or walk through the malls might see a good sale and they want to buy something for themselves. But if you can resist paying $140… $200 on yourself, and maybe save that for the first of the year, it’s off to a good start.”

A lot of stores offer loyalty points for shopping. Consider signing up for emails from your favorite stores, and keeping up with shop’s social media pages. You might find some great coupons and loyalty deals.

Source:; Ashley Claster; November 2014.