Under Armour and Nike’s Big Christmas Day Battle

Nike (NYSE:NKE) and Under Armour (NYSE:UA) are bound to be gift-wrapped under some Christmas trees on Friday morning as athletic wear continues to hold sway in the style world.

But the two brands will also go head-to-head on the court on Christmas Day at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT on Disney‘s (NYSE:DIS) ABC as Nike icon LeBron James takes on Under Armour ambassador and league MVP Stephen Curry in a much-anticipated Cleveland Cavaliers-Golden State Warriors matchup.

James remains a fan favorite, topping ESPN’s quarterly popularity poll for the 10th consecutive quarter with 22.4% of the vote. But Curry zipped up to third place, behind retiring Kobe Bryant, with 12.5% — a huge year-over-year climb from the 1.9% he notched up in the same quarter a year earlier, according to the sports network.

And in June, Steph Curry jerseys became the No. 1 selling jersey in the NBA, outselling LeBron James jerseys.

In many ways, Curry’s place in the big leagues parallels that of Under Armour, the company that signed the slender point guard in 2013. Both the man and the brand have ascended to the spotlight relatively quickly, though each underdog-turned-contender remains overshadowed in the public eye by more dominant forces, in the form of LeBron and Nike, respectively.

And each is committed to becoming No. 1. When Time magazine asked him if he is the best player in the world right now, Curry responded, “In my mind, yes. That’s how I have confidence out there that I can play at a high level every night.”

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, whose more than $3 billion sportswear company is still about a tenth of the size of Nike by sales, talks a similar game.

“(A)fter 10 years of being in the business, we are proud to report nearly 40% market share as the No. 2 player in the space, with eyes set on being the No. 1 player in the very near future,” said Plank at the company’s investor day in September.

He later added, alluding to Nike, “We don’t enjoy playing No. 2 to anyone.”

Nike topped earnings estimates earlier this week, boasting hefty futures orders growth that exceeded Wall Street expectations. And Under Armour footwear sales continue to climb amid the success of their signature Curry One shoe. The launch of the next edition, the Curry Two, has generated excitement among sneakerheads.

Fans of basketball and flashy workout gear should expect to see much more of James with Nike and Curry with Under Armour in the coming years: Under Armour has extended Curry’s contract through 2024, and James recently inked a lifetime deal with the Swoosh.

Under Armour shares fell 1% to 81.20. Nike fell 1.8% to 63.18.

EUR/USD posts steady gains in abbreviated Christmas Eve session

EUR/USD gained more than 0.45% on Thursday to close above 1.09EUR/USD rose considerably during an abbreviated session, as currency traders looked to capitalize on last-minute gains ahead of the Christmas holiday.

The currency pair traded between 1.0904 and 1.0966 before settling near session-highs at 1.0963, up 0.0052 or 0.47% on the session. EUR/USD has been relatively flat since last week’s historic decision by the Federal Reserve to abandon a seven-year zero interest rate policy by approving its first rate hike in nearly a decade. The pair is also virtually unchanged since the European Central Bank rattled global foreign exchange markets on December 3 with an unexpected decision to approve only limited easing measures with its comprehensive asset-purchasing program. Following the shocking announcement by ECB president Mario Draghi, the euro surged more than 3% against the dollar on the session, one of its strongest one-day moves of the year.

EUR/USD likely gained support at 1.0538, the low from Dec. 3 and was met with resistance at 1.1496, the high from Oct. 15.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said on Thursday that initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 267,000 for the week ending on Dec. 18. The number of initial claims dipped to near 45-year lows, falling to levels last seen in late-1973. Analysts expected new claims to decelerate slightly by 1,000 to 270,000 on the week. Last Wednesday, Fed chair Janet Yellen cited a tightening labor market that is nearing full employment as the primary factor in the Fed’s decision to raise its benchmark Federal Funds Rate.

Investors continued to digest solid inflation data from Wednesday’s session for further indications on when the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) could approve its next rate hike. On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) said the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index increased by 0.4% on a yearly basis last month, above 0.2% annual gains in October.

The Core PCE index, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, inched up by 0.1% last month, in line with consensus estimates. Over the last year, core prices are up 1.3%, unchanged from October’s reading. Core PCE prices, the Fed’s preferred gauge for inflation, have fallen below its targeted goal of 2% for every month over the last three years. Yellen expects long-term inflation to move toward the Fed’s targeted objective, as temporary factors from a stronger dollar and dwindling oil prices fade.

At last week’s historic meeting, the FOMC projected that the upper-bound range for the Fed Funds Rate will increase a full percentage point to 1.5% by the end of 2016. The estimates imply that the FOMC could approve four modest rate hike throughout the course of next year. On Thursday, the CME Group’s (O:CME) Fed Watch calculated the probability of a March rate hike at 50.3%, down from 53.6% a session earlier.

Yields on the U.S. 10-Year fell by one basis point to 2.24%, while yields on theGermany 10-Year gained a basis point to 0.63%.

The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the strength of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, fell by more than 0.40% to an intraday low of 97.96, before settling at 98.02. Earlier this month, the index eclipsed 100.00 to reach its highest level in more than 12 months. With only a handful of sessions left in 2015, the euro is down by more than 9% versus the dollar since the start of the year.

EUR/USD has fallen sharply from its level of 1.2104 on New Year’s Day, 2015, amid continuing signs of divergence between the Fed and the ECB.

U.S. dollar remains lower after jobless claims report

© Reuters.  U.S. dollar holds losses after jobless claims report

The dollar held on to losses in thin Christmas Eve trading on Thursday, after data showed the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. fell more than expected last week.

Trading volumes are expected to remain light, with much of the Western world already shuttered for the Christmas and year-end holidays.

The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefitsdecreased by 5,000 last week to 267,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to fall by 2,000 to 270,000 from the previous week’s total of 272,000. First-time jobless claims have held below the 300,000-level for 41 consecutive weeks, which is usually associated with a firming labor market.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.23% at 98.15 during U.S. morning hours. The index, which has fallen back to levels seen before the Federal Reserve raised interest rates on December 17, remains well off last week’s two-week high of 99.33.

With the first U.S. rate hike since 2006 out of the way, the focus is now on the pace of future rate increases. The Fed, from its forecasts, is anticipating four rate hikes next year. However, the Fed funds futures currently suggests there will be just two rate increases, in June and December.

Trading volumes are expected to remain light as many traders already closed books before the end of the year, reducing liquidity in the market and increasing volatility. U.S. markets close early Thursday, Christmas Eve, and are shut Friday for Christmas Day.

U.S. dollar drifts lower against euro, yen in pre-Christmas trade

© Reuters.  U.S. dollar drifts lower in pre-Christmas trade

The dollar edged lower against the euro and yen in subdued trade on Thursday, with moves likely to remain limited ahead of the Christmas holiday.

Trading volumes are expected to remain light, with much of the Western world already shuttered for the Christmas and year-end holidays.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.27% at 98.12 during European morning hours.

The index, which has fallen back to levels seen before the Federal Reserve raised interest rates on December 17, remains well off last week’s two-week high of 99.33.

The greenback weakened followed the release of mixed U.S. economic data on Wednesday. Orders for U.S. core capital goods, a key barometer of private-sector business investment, declined 0.4% last month, while shipments of core capital goods, a category used to calculate quarterly economic growth, slumped 0.5%.

However, separate reports showed that personal spending rose for the eighth straight month in November, while consumer sentiment improved to a five-month high in December.

With the first U.S. rate hike since 2006 out of the way, the focus is now on the pace of future rate increases. The Fed, from its forecasts, is anticipating four rate hikes next year. However, the Fed funds futures currently suggests there will be just two rate increases, in June and December.

The dollar slid against the euro, with EUR/USD gaining 0.37% to 1.0952. Against the yen, the greenback dipped 0.45% to 120.38 (USD/JPY).

Trading volumes are expected to remain light as many traders already closed books before the end of the year, reducing liquidity in the market and increasing volatility. U.S. markets close early Thursday, Christmas Eve, and are shut Friday for Christmas Day.

HomeIndustry Companies Jet Airways Christmas, New Year scheme offers up to 10% discount on fares (0) Jet Airways Christmas, New Year scheme offers up to 10% discount on fares

Jet Airways, Jet Airways offer, Jet Airways scheme, jetairways.com, Jet Airways passenger, Jet Airways flights, Jet Airways pre-book seat, Jet Airways ticket price

Jet Airways offer: As part of its Christmas and New Year offering, premier international airline, Jet Airways, has announced special attractive festive fares for its guests travelling on the airline’s global network. This offer is available exclusively on airline’s website jetairways.com and mobile app.

This Jet Airways offer is applicable for travel on international flights from India to destinations in the SAARC, ASEAN, Europe, and Canada regions. Similarly, the offer is also valid on flights originating from Paris, Canada, Brussels, ASEAN and SAARC regions, and on the airline’s newest destination – Amsterdam.

Passengers can enjoy 10% savings on base fares for one way as well as for return journeys, across Jet Airways’ international network for First Class, Premiere and Economy.

Travel from Canada & Paris
The airline’s guests travelling from Canada on direct Jet Airways’ flights to destinations on the airline’s network get to enjoy a discount of Canadian Dollar 30, on base fares. Similarly, the airline’s guests journeying from Paris will enjoy a 10% saving on base fares as a special offer. Bookings from both these destinations will be available for sale from December 25 to 29, 2015. Under this offer travel is valid from January 11, 2016 onwards.

Travel from India and SAARC region
For a sale period of December 25 to 29 2015, guests  between India and destinations in ASEAN and SAARC regions will get to enjoy 10% on base fares with travel effective January 11, 2016 onwards.

Furthermore, for a sale period of December 30, 2015 to January 3, 2016, a 10% discount on base fares is valid on the airline’s direct flights booked from India to Canada, Europe, and the Gulf region, and for flights originating from SAARC countries. Travel for guests availing this offer is effective January 11, 2016 onwards.

Travel ex- ASEAN region
Guests travelling from the ASEAN region on flights operated by Jet Airways can enjoy a discount of 10% on tickets booked between Dec 24 and 31, 2015 for travel effective January 11, 2016.

Travel ex- Brussels and Amsterdam
Jet Airways’ flyers from Brussels may avail of a 5% discount on base fares when they book their travel onboard all Jet Airways’ direct flights between December 30, 2015 to January 3, 2016, with travel effective January 11,2016.

Passengers travelling on direct flights originating from Amsterdam, Jet Airways’ newest European gateway, will enjoy a similar 5%  saving on base fares, when they book their flights between December 30, 2015 to January 3, 2016. With the commencement of operations from/to Amsterdam,  the travel validity will be effective March 27, 2016.

Gaurang Shetty, Sr. VP – Commercial, Jet Airways, said: “This global festive fare sale offer is a goodwill gesture to our loyal guests while they celebrate the festive season and ring in the New Year, with family and friends. Guests will now be able to plan and schedule their travel much in advance and benefit from these special fares. At Jet Airways, we have always endeavoured to provide our guests with an unmatched travel experience and these special festive fares will allow guests to experience our award winning services, its extensive network, flexible schedules and enhanced connectivity at attractive fares. I am confident that this promotion will be popular with our guests.”

To add to on board festivities, Jet Airways’ will serve specially created plum cakes on Christmas Day for guests travelling across Jet Airways’ domestic and international flights from India.

It’s a ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ for Many IT Teams

The holiday season can be a nightmare for many IT teams, new research shows.

While many office workers will be taking some extra time off or working remotely during the holiday season, IT teams are left on call and are working behind the scenes to make sure the company’s computers and network stay up and running, according to a study from Ipswitch.

The research shows that 40 percent of IT professionals will be on call or working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, while 16 percent will be doing so on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

“The holiday season for IT teams is no vacation, as they are working around the clock to keep their IT infrastructure running smoothly,” Jeff Loeb, chief marketing officer at Ipswitch, said in a statement.

The spike in employees working from outside the office this time of year adds to IT teams’ increased workload. The research revealed that 47 percent of IT professionals see between 10 and 25 percent of their company’s employees working remotely on any given week during the holidays, and 29 percent see between 26 and 50 percent of their workforce logging in remotely.

An increase in the number of employees working remotely often causes more problems for IT teams. The most common of these issues include fixing laptop computers, helping employees who are having difficulty accessing the network, dealing with poor application performance and handling a variety of security issues, such as malware on laptops.

“Making sure employees are connected and ready to work no matter their location, along with putting out the typical fires, is no easy task,” Loeb said.

Annual holiday parties can also cause some extra work for IT teams. Following holiday festivities, 47 percent of those surveyed have had an employee report losing a device holding sensitive company data. The places a phone, tablet or laptop has been lost include bars, restaurants and taxis.

The problems don’t stop once the holiday season is over. Many employees return to work after their extended break armed with a bunch of new tech gadgets that often require some attention from IT staff. Those surveyed said smartphones, wearable technology, tablets and laptops are the devices they expect to cause the most extra work for IT teams.

The study was based on surveys of 378 U.S.-based IT professionals.

7 Ways to Cut Down on Holiday Gift-Giving

Family opening Christmas presents togetherAs the holiday gift-giving season approaches, we often are filled with a sense of dread: How will we ever find the perfect gift for everyone on our list, the time to finish our shopping and the money to pay for all the stuff we need to buy?

Some Americans are saving money and sanity by changing their gift-giving traditions and, in some cases, eliminating gift-giving entirely.

“I just gave up altogether,” says Sandy Smith, a human resources professional in New York City who blogs at Yes, I Am Cheap. Several years ago, after realizing she had blown a substantial bonus on gifts people had long forgotten, she told her parents, brother and sister that she was no longer going to buy Christmas gifts for them, and she didn’t want them to buy her anything, either.

Instead, she would take the family out to dinner at her expense. Her brother has since joined her in financing the outing, which the family looks forward to every year.

“We’ve enjoyed going out and hanging out and enjoying different cultures and cuisines,” she says. The first year she took the family to an authentic Chinese restaurant in New York City’s Chinatown. “It was such an exotic experience for my parents, and they loved it,” she says. “We’ve been introducing them to different foods all over the city. They’ve had a good time traveling the world through food.”

Holiday traditions are important to many people, but you may find that your relatives are happy to quit exchanging gifts, especially as the family grows.

“It’s all about time, money and energy,” says Stefanie O’Connell, founder of the personal finance blog The Broke and Beautiful Life. “I think that the gift-giving process is a toll on all three of those things.”

She suggested to her four siblings several years ago that they quit giving each other holiday gifts and concentrate on their parents and older relatives. Not only did she save money, she discovered that she had more time available to spend with her family since she wasn’t out shopping. Her friends draw names for a Secret Santa exchange and they have the added bonus of enjoying the get-together where they exchange the gifts.

Some families find it easy to limit gift-giving among adults but still want to make their children’s holidays magical. But buying fewer things may be better for your children, says Andrea Deckard, a mother of three boys in Cincinnati and author at Savings Lifestyle.

She and her husband decided several years ago that they would buy each of their three boys only four gifts every year: Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. They coordinate with grandparents and other relatives, so that if someone else in the family is buying one of the boys a jacket, the parents will get him socks or underwear, for example.

“We want to make sure they’re not getting too much junk,” Deckard says. How do the kids react to receiving fewer gifts? “It’s not as much of an issue as some people might think it is,” she says, adding that her sons, who are now 8, 11 and 16, have learned from the experience. “Our kids now realize that it’s stuff and we don’t really need all this stuff this time of year.”

Getting off the gift-giving merry-go-round starts with a frank discussion with friends and family.

Smith, whose blog chronicles her journey of paying off $120,000 in debt from student loans and a failed business venture, has been vocal in recent years about her less stuff, more time philosophy. She believes it frees her friends from worrying about whether they need to buy her something because she’s buying them something.

“It turns into this crazy thing where they’re not really giving you a gift because they want to but because it’s a pre-emptive strike,” Smith says. “When you put it out there, it makes things easier for everyone. … I think a lot of people want to go back to simpler things. I don’t think people will protest much.”

Here are seven ways to cut down on holiday gift-giving, while saving you time, money and stress:

Set a realistic budget, and then figure out how to stay within it. Many people buy gifts without calculating their total expenditures and are surprised when the bills arrive. “Getting honest about what those numbers look like is a way to get grounded,” O’Connell says. “You don’t want to be paying your Christmas bills when spring comes.”

Talk to your significant other about alternatives. O’Connell and her boyfriend put the money they would have spent on gifts toward trips they take together. Other couples may prefer a night at the movies or a romantic weekend at home.

Suggest to relatives and friends that you end or limit gift exchanges.Some families may draw names for gift exchange, do a Secret Santa drawing, set dollar limits or end gift-giving entirely. Others, like Smith’s family, may do something together instead of exchanging gifts. “It’s been better for my relationship with my family,” Smith says. “The experiences have been so much better than the gifts that I was giving.”

Coordinate gift-giving for kids with other friends and relatives.Deckard’s family members keep in touch to make an effort to limit the gifts they buy to things the children actually want or need. If your child wants something expensive, all the relatives might go in and buy that one gift, rather than buying individual gifts.

Opt out of office gift exchanges. Bake cookies for co-workers or write each a note about what you appreciate. O’Connell, who works in theater in addition to writing, gave up participating when she noticed how much some co-workers worried over the gift exchange. “The Secret Santa became this financial stressor that people weren’t finding joy in,” she says.

Ask your relatives if they would prefer alternatives to gifts. Many older people don’t want more things. Grandma may have all the sweaters she needs, but she may really want you to come over with dinner one evening or clean her gutters. Or, perhaps all the relatives can go in together and buy a year of housecleaning for the grandparents. Young families may appreciate an evening of babysitting, and teens may really enjoy an outing alone with a relative.

Bring edible gifts to parties. O’Connell comes from a big Ukrainian family where guests are expected to bring gifts. “You don’t come anywhere empty-handed,” O’Connell says. But a $5 bottle of wine is considered gift enough, she says. Wine, chocolate, cookies or other food items don’t cost much and won’t end up on a shelf collecting dust.

To Wait – or Not to Wait – for Black Friday Deals?

Holiday ShoppingChristmas is still about eight weeks away, but retailers and many shoppers don’t seem to care. Holiday shopping is in full swing.

Gone are the days when shoppers waited until Black Friday, once revered as the biggest shopping day of the year, to hit the stores and snatch up great deals on everything from clothing to electronics. Instead, early-bird shoppers are purchasing items off their holiday lists earlier than ever.

According to a new survey from coupon destination site RetailMeNot, just 10 percent of consumers today believe that Black Friday savings are really worth the wait and 85 percent of shoppers expect retailers to start their holiday promotions before Black Friday. “Consumers in record numbers are questioning the value of offers on Black Friday,” said Trae Bodge, senior lifestyle editor at RetailMeNot. “While early bird behavior is beneficial for the strategic buyer, RetailMeNot’s offer data still suggests that deals during the five days of savings from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday are stronger on a percent-off basis than in prior weeks.”

For example, RetailMeNot said the deepest discounts on electronics and computers — ranging from 38 to 40 percent off — can be found between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, and oftentimes into the first week of December.

But if you’re shopping for little ones this holiday season, RetailMeNot suggests that you “act fast and purchase toys early.” Because toy prices remain relatively stable throughout the holiday season, if you wait too long you might not have much to choose from if inventory runs low.

RetailMeNot said it’s easy to score Black Friday-worthy discounts whenever you want if you follow this simple approach:

  • Purchase a discounted gift card, which are typically sold post-Cyber Monday, at your favorite retailer and get an instant savings of 2 to 20 percent.
  • Use the discounted gift card in conjunction with a coupon code or digital rebate. “RetailMeNot users report an average savings of $20 per transaction,” said Kristen Larrea, RetailMeNot shopping expert. If you want to score even bigger savings, pay for your purchase with a cash-back credit card.

The survey also found that the most attractive promotions to shoppers are: money-back purchase options (44 percent), holiday sales (37 percent), flash-sale deals (31 percent) and door-buster offers (27 percent). Consumers said they can also be lured into stores by gift-wrapping services (24 percent) and good holiday music (16 percent).

How to Save on Holiday Spending Without Being a Scrooge

Small present boxBah humbug, the holidays are approaching but you are broke. What do you do?
Do you want to save on holiday spending this year? If you do, then don’t do it looking like a Scrooge!

There are so many ways to save money on your holiday shopping without looking cheap, so here are some of my top tips on how to get your most bang for your buck around the holiday season.

1. Shop at cashback sites to earn money back on your purchases. One company I really like is InboxDollars.com. I’ve been using the site for years; they actually were a big part of me being able to pay for Christmas one year just from surveys and cash back shopping. You simply take surveys to earn cold, hard cash! You can get a percentage of your purchase in cash back as well, so it really helps by stacking the savings. One of my favorite ways to save is the 5 percent cash back deal on Groupon.

2. Make sure every purchase you make has a triple dip savings. That means stacking savings. For example, buy your gift cards at a discount through your grocery store or places like cardpool.com and then shop through cash back sites like InboxDollars.com and then use a coupon code to shop online. If you are lucky, you can get a quadruple dip and get free shipping, too.

3. Make a list and stick to it. I have 14 nieces and nephews under the age of 10. Instead of buying junky gifts for everyone and going broke in the process, each kid picks the name of a cousin. Then they shop for that cousin with a $20 to $30 budget, so each kid gets one quality gift. Instead of spending over $200 on gifts for all the nieces and nephews, I now spend under $100, plus my kids get gifts that they are really interested in (instead of dollar store junk).

4. Instead of paying full price, price match everything. There are so many stores that will price match competitors prices. I use Retale, an app for the best savings at major retailers close to you, to check circulars for in-store deals and coupons. But a really cool added benefit is the ability to pull up store flyers in your area to compare prices. You can also use it to create and manage shopping lists. It’s the go-to digital hub for the on-the-go shopper.

Many stores are open about their price matching policies. All you have to do is ask. Target will price match many online stores; you can get all the details on the Target website. Just make sure you have a way to validate the prices, like the Retale app.

Walmart will also price match any store, as long as the lower price is for the exact same product. Just be sure you have clear proof of that lower price, and read about all the details of Walmart’s policy on its website.

Kohl’s will also price match competitor’s prices, but not online prices. You’ll need a flyer with you for proof of the lower prices. Best Buy’s policy is to price match all local retail competitors, including their online prices, as well as major online retailers, including Amazon, Dell and HP. As you can see, there are so many options for price matching that with just a few minutes of homework you will be able to save a lot of money. Don’t be afraid to do some research and ask questions if you aren’t sure how to proceed; the effort can really pay off.

5. Opt to skip giving gifts altogether. This strategy might sound like the most Scrooge-like of all, but it’s not, if you simply replace gifts with experiences. Movie tickets, ski tickets, a free night of babysitting — all are great gifts. One year I gave my nephew tickets to see Sesame Street Live, and we had so much fun.

Just because you opt out of giving gifts doesn’t mean you are a real Scrooge. It just means that you value time spent more than dollars paid.

If you follow these tips, you can enjoy this holiday season without being a broke Scrooge. Plan ahead, save money and enjoy this year!

10 Savings Tips for Holiday Shopping

Mother and son shopping for Christmas ornaments in store

Christmas is weeks away, but many consumers are already prepping for the annual holiday spending extravaganza — and they may be on to something. Retailers, to be sure, are revving up the profit engines and setting their sights on Black Friday, traditionally the single biggest shopping day of the year. In the not-too-distant future, Christmas decor will be hanging from store rafters and weekly circulars will be advertising deals on coveted items. These tips can help consumers get their budgets in order, their money saved up and their plans in place for a smooth and financially sound holiday shopping season.

Make a budget. Hold a “state of the union” about holiday expenses with your spouse, significant other or anyone with whom you expect to buy gifts this year. It may not be fun, but knowing in advance how much you can spend will alleviate a lot of stress. Make your holiday budget all-inclusive: gifts and holiday cards for everyone on your list, wrapping paper and stamps, decorations, food and drinks for parties and during shopping excursions and whatever else requires a cash outlay during the holiday season. Don’t budget for more money than you have or know you can save by the deadline.

Save now. Like, immediately. There is still a month to go and for anyone paid weekly, that’s five paychecks before Black Friday. Fix a budget now and stash some cash for the big day. Given the magnitude of many holiday discounts, $30 out of each paycheck stretches pretty far. To ensure the savings intended for Black Friday are actually used for that purpose, consider setting up a targeted bank account. Many employers let employees divvy up their take-home pay into multiple accounts.

Save up gift cards. Any cash-like asset can be put toward a holiday shopping budget, so get in the habit of saving up gift cards. Dig out old ones that may still hold a few dollars and take them along when you shop; every little bit helps. Alternatively, search a site such as Gift Card Granny and buy a few unwanted gift cards from a marketplace that sells the plastic at a discount off its underlying value.

Pay with cash. Once you’ve decided on a holiday budget, stick to it. Credit cards are the enemy here — they tempt you to spend now and worry later. Be firm and reject the siren call of credit when hitting the holiday sales. Pay for this year’s goodies with cash, check or debit card so you don’t spend more than you have. Steel yourself to walk away from holiday sales once you’ve hit your holiday budget limit.

Purge to make room for new. Everyone has something to get rid of and there’s still time to try selling it. In some parts of the country it’s still warm enough to host a garage sale. You can also post sale items to Craigslist or with a local buy/sell/trade group on social media. You’ll make room for the flood of new gifts while padding the holiday budget with a spot of extra cash.

Make a list and check it twice. Holiday spending, especially on Black Friday, can easily turn into a cash-flow catastrophe. Seemingly everything is on sale everywhere, luring too many consumers to spend, spend, spend. To help stanch the outflow, make a list of recipients and the amount you’re willing to shell out — and then stick to it. Have a plan of action ready even before the Black Friday ads start rolling out.

Clip and save. No need to go coupon crazy here, but if you spot a coupon for something on your list, use it now. It’s always worthwhile to check some of thebest coupon and deal sites. The same goes for store cash: Investigate the offerings from local merchants. Kohl’s, for example, frequently runs Kohl’s Cash promotions. If you have a similar medium on hand, spend it now on something for the holidays.

Shop early. Once confined to the Friday after Thanksgiving, big discounts are increasingly leaking into the rest of November. Some retailers now offer a few “Black Friday” deals in advance. In the past, Amazon has released deals all week leading up to Black Friday and Walmart has hosted a “Super Saturday” sale in early November featuring Black Friday-like deals. Similar promotions from these and other retailers are likely this year. If an item on your list is advertised for less than your budget allotted, grab it. You’ll get a running start on your shopping and save along the way.

Sign up for alerts. Want to be among the first to glimpse those coveted Black Friday ads? There’s little time for browsing once the crowds descend, so sign up for email lists, “like” retailers on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for an early look-see. Signing up for a Google Alert with the search query “Black Friday” will fill up your inbox with Black Friday ads and related coverage. With all that information at your fingertips, you’ll know which items to target long before Black Friday arrives.

Track your budget. Even if you shop early, be sure to keep your budget up to date. Print out a copy or store it on your smartphone and always carry it with you. Mark down how much you’re spending and where and regularly check your progress against the plan. Accountability goes a long way toward keeping your finances straight during the holiday shopping season.