While thinking of ways to save money for my emergency fund, I also decided I did not want to be financially strapped for the holidays. I'm a strong proponent of shopping throughout the year rather than waiting for Black Friday. Don't get me wrong, there are indeed great deals to be had the day after Thanksgiving, but of course you have to contend with hundreds of other deal seeking shoppers, long lines and limited supplies. I decided I would spend $5 per paycheck to purchase small gift cards and stash them away for Christmas. I usually have a person in mind when I buy the card & I keep a post it note with their name attached so I can remember whom the intended recipient is. Five bucks isn't a huge sacrifice considering the end result would be that you're far ahead of the Christmas shopping game and I usually spend that much eating out for dinner. If $5 per check is too much on the budget, consider spending $5 twice a month. The point is to start now so that when Christmas arrives you will thank yourself for being prepared.