Most individuals wait until after the holiday season before thinking about the inevitable credit card bills that follow. Sharon Lechter, best-selling author and financial literacy expert, encourages a strategy going into the holidays so bills are not overwhelming in January. Instead of figuring out how to pay off bills by cutting corners, Lechter suggests saving $500 before the holidays with seven easy tips: 1. Make Money Entertaining Friends Ask your favorite local boutique if you can bring your friends in for a pre-summer shopping party to get ready for the warmer weather and take a small commission from each item sold. Bring some fun snacks and drinks to set the mood and your friends will bring the cash! Estimated earnings: $100. 2. Birthday Shop For Your Office Colleagues Offer birthday gift shopping services for your co-workers to help them get the best deal and best gift for those hard-to-buy for friends and relatives. Charge a small fee for shopping and wrapping the gifts. $50 – $100. 3. Clean Out Those Closets Unpacking last year’s spring clothing and see a few things you’d rather not wear again? Take in-season clothing, as well as household goods, to a local consignment shop and make a little cash. Estimated earnings $50 – $100. 4. Say So Long to Starbucks Getting your favorite latte even just twice a week can cost you up to $40 a month. Switch to at-home or office brewed coffee and save big. Estimated earnings: $50. 5. Set-up a Water Shop at Community Events Buy a case of water and set-up shop near a busy community event, selling bottles for $2. Estimated earnings $25 – 50. 6. Reduce Cable Service Eliminating just one premium movie channel can save you upwards of $25 a month. Enjoy the great spring weather and your DVD library and save. Estimate earnings $50. 7. Find Free EntertainmentDitch a pricey trip to the movies or meal out each week and enjoy a free local event or festival. Bring your own coffee and snacks so you are not tempted to indulge in a treat! Estimated savings $100. http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/money/save-money-before-christmas-11302010

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