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How can I Control Holiday Spending?

Controlling holiday spending can be a challenge for everyone, but especially those with large families or lots of friends who want to exchange gifts. It is easy to go out of control, spend too much, and end up in credit card debt. One of the best ways to control holiday spending is to set a budget, and then attempt to stick to it; write down gift ideas for people, the approximate cost, and then take your list to the store with cash rather than credit cards. This way, you will not be tempted to make spontaneous purchases, and are more likely to stick to your budget.

Another way to manage holiday spending and keep it in line is to shop the sale fliers. Stores often host sales and send out coupons around the holidays, and this can be a great way to save money. Online shops frequently offer free shipping for the month of December, as well as other coupon codes for percentages off purchases or "buy one get one free" deals, for example. Being a smart shopper and making purchases in advance when items are on sale, rather than waiting until the last minute and paying full price, is a great way to save.

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Holiday spending often skyrockets when big families or groups of friends all buy for each other. Some families or friends find that doing a secret gift exchange is a better idea; this way, everyone gets to open a gift, but it is only necessary to purchase one thing. This allows people to get creative and purchase especially nice gifts when they don't have dozens of other people to buy for. Many offices do a similar "Secret Santa" for the same reason. Other families will buy gifts for the children in the family, but will go in on a joint present for each other, such as a vacation or a purchase for the home.

Some choose to forgo purchasing gifts at all, and will instead contribute to a charity in someone's name, or hand-make items as a way of doing good around the holiday season and curbing holiday spending. Handmade gifts are much less expensive and much more personal, and people often appreciate the time and energy that went into creating the gift. There are many homemade gift ideas to be found by searching online; it is not necessary to be particularly crafty, though that can certainly be a help.

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