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The holidays are quickly approaching, and this time of year usually brings big spending with it. It is easy to get carried away while shopping for loved ones and spend more than you should. Here are some tips to hopefully save you from overspending this year.

  1. Use your rewards – Many debit and credit cards accumulate points as you make purchases, and you may be able to use them for gifts. Before you start your shopping trips, take some time to look over your credit or debit card policy (or call their customer service department) to find out how you can redeem your rewards.
  2. Be creative – Ask your family to draw names allowing each person to only give (and receive) one gift, this allows you to save money overall and get more a more meaningful gift for someone. Another way to save money on gifts is to give your time to someone; offer free babysitting for new parents or a day of activities to a child.
  3. Do your homework – Before you go out shopping find coupons. It may only take you 20 minutes to find coupon codes for online shopping or printable coupons for in store shopping, but it could save you a lot of money. Most stores will offer some kind of savings deal, so do some research before you pay full price for anything.
  4. Share your holiday meal – The host of the holiday get together usual foots the bill. By starting a new tradition, like a family potluck, everyone shares the bill and brings a dish with them. Another option is planning a less expensive gathering, such as a breakfast or a dessert and coffee bar.
  5. Stick to a cash only policy – If you don’t think you’ll be able to use your credit card without going overboard, put yourself on a cash only plan. You can free up some funds to buy gifts with by adjusting your grocery budget. Use the items you have in your freezer or the back of you cabinet that you forgot you had instead of buying more.
  6. Keep your receipts for price comparisons – Most stores allow you to claim a price adjustment if an item you just bought goes on sale shortly after. Some credit and debit cards will also offer this option and reimburse you the difference in savings.

This holiday season, worry less about the price tags and more about the sentimental value of the gifts you give and receive. It will make your shopping less stressful and leave you better off financially if you can do it!