Start planning now for a more cost-effective holiday season in 2010

Start planning now for an easier holiday season in 2010 Even for families who had committed to consolidating debt this holiday season, the end of the shopping season may also bring some type of "sticker shock" during the first run-through of finances for the new year.

Because of that Kristy Archuleta of Kansas State University’s Institute of Personal Financial Planning Clinic has compiled some tips that consumers can begin doing immediately to prepare for a financially smoother holiday season in 2010.

While many families do not take enough time to put money away in preparation for the holidays, Archuleta suggested that a portion of every paycheck be committed into savings in order to have a financial cushion that prevents even a mildly extravagant expense from plunging them into debt.

Additionally, as many consumers learned this holiday season, Archuleta urged families to begin their shopping for the holidays as early as possible in order to shop around for the best prices before making a purchase.

"Another way to save is start your holiday shopping early, watching for sales and doing comparison shopping to get the best quality and best price for your money. Be sure to check sales prices at the store to make sure you are actually buying the item on sale," she said.

Numerous surveys taken this holiday season found that consumers had taken to online shopping in order to property compare prices against one another before making a purchase.