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Thanksgiving is done, and if you’re like most us, you probably went overboard today during the Black Friday sale. But once things have settled down, and the sale fever passes, most of us usually find that we got carried away by impulse-buying and are now proud owners of things that we do not really need. Guess what? Christmas is just around the corner and no matter how many times we hear that love is the greatest gift of all we are still expected to hand out presents to our families and loved ones.

So how do we make sure that we do not overspend during the holidays?

Here are 5 sure tips to make sure that you stay within the budget:

  1. Make a list. Take it from Santa and make your own list of who’s naughty or nice. You do not have to be extra generous and give gifts to everyone you know. Make a list of close friends and family so you can see how many gifts you have to buy, and set a budget for each person. Make sure you stay within the budget.
  2. Shop Early. Now that you know who you’ll be shopping for and how much you can afford to spend, it’s time to look around for possible gifts. Don’t wait until the last minute to look for suitable gifts, you might be tempted to buy beyond your budget if you are already pressed for time.
  3. Bring Cash. When shopping, don’t use your credit card. It’s easy to get carried away when using your credit card because you do not see the total amount spent until you get the statement. Instead, check your budget and bring just enough cash to cover the amount you intend to spend for the gifts. You will be able to immediately see just how much money you have left.
  4. Avoid Shopping on “Big Sale” Days. As tempting as it looks, the “70% off “, “Crazy Sale” or the “Midnight Madness” will not help you with saving. The atmosphere and the strategically placed signs and merchandise will instead induce you to buy more than what you intended to purchase.
  5. Give Meaningful Gifts. Remember when grandma used to knit scarves and sweatshirts as gifts? If you’re good at arts and crafts, instead of buying gifts you can make your own. A personalized gift will be all the more precious since you spent time and effort in making them. And remember, the Holiday season is not about the material things.