Dear Reader,

It is easy to overspend this time of year.  We all want to give our family and friends the best gifts and the most on trend digital devices.  However, many go deep into debt in order to do this.  So, I’ve got five tips that will help keep you from breaking the bank this and every holiday season.

TIP#1 – Set A Budget – sit down and figure out how much income you will have for the month of December.  Subtract your bills and what you’ll spend on food and gasoline, and what you have left is what you can spend. This is setting a budget. Don’t go over what you have planned to spend, and you won’t need those credit cards that many spend the entire year paying back.

TIP #2 – Start Early – This is perfect tip for next year’s holiday season.  You can plan for your spending earlier on in the year by setting aside money every month or starting in the summer.  This way, you have the cash and won’t have to stress out about creating credit card payments for yourself.

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    TIP #3 – Look for Sales– Make sure you shop around for the best price. Competition is what keeps prices low and use what is left of the free market to find a good deal.  But, at the same time, don’t just but things because they are on sale. If you have been wanting to get that perfect gift for someone for a while, grab it and wrap it up.  Don’t justify unnecessary spending just because something is a great deal.  That money could be spent on a gift someone would enjoy rather than one that was a great price.

    TIP#4 – Make a List – I know I sound a little like Santa here, but making a list and looking at it frequently will help keep your mind up to date on who has a gift, who you still need to but for, and where you are at with your budget. I know people who don’t make lists and end up with several gifts for one person while forgetting a gift for someone else.  Then a rush to the store must happen a few days before Christmas in order to correct the problem.  This often results in overspending too.  Just make a list and “check it twice” to be sure you are staying on track.

    TIP#5 – Homemade Gifts – If you normally give out a lot of gifts, consider making them in large quantities at home. Buy everything to create something that universally, most will love. This will save you money and everyone will know you went through some effort to put it together for them. These are the gifts most people are truly grateful for.

    The holidays don’t have to devastate our savings or throw us into credit card debt.  It takes a little bit of planning and a lot of dedication to stick to your budget, but it’s possible! And most people will just be grateful you’ve gotten them a gift as opposed to looking at what you have spend on it.

    Best Regards,

    James Davis

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      This work is based on SEC filings, current events, interviews, corporate press releases and what we’ve learned as financial journalists. It may contain errors and you shouldn’t make any investment decision based solely on what you read here. It’s your money and your responsibility. The information herein is not intended to be personal legal or investment advice and may not be appropriate or applicable for all readers. If personal advice is needed, the services of a qualified legal, investment or tax professional should be sought.