This is an obvious way to save. The National Retail Federation found that the average person will spend $51.99 this year on ornaments, lights and other decorative baubles, the most in the survey's history. That doesn't include greeting cards, wrapping paper and flowers. The best time to buy holiday items is Dec. 26. Use what you have in the attic and stock up on lights and ornaments the day after Christmas.
There is always the urge to buy a new dining table, new curtains or a new sofa immediately before the family visits for the holidays. But retailers know this, and they're hoping you'll buy the sofa in November instead of January. New furniture stock arrives in stores come February, so there will be massive discounts on sofas and kitchen tables in January. Resist the temptation to spend and wait for the sale.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Holidays are expensive enough with all the travel and gift-giving. Don't waste money on non-essentials. Those things can wait until 2013, when you're sure to find true bargains.