It’s the holiday season, and with black friday, cyber monday and all these other made up holidays behind us it may seem that the worst of the overspending holidays are behind us, but alas the big one is still looming. Christmas, or whatever you may celebrate this year usually revolves on a certain amount of gift giving. The amount of gift giving that can quickly mean your credit card statement is more than you bargained for. Whether you are really blowing it out this year or this is one of your first holiday seasons where you are expected to become a part of the gift giving, it can be tough not to get wrapped up in all of the fanfare.

Budgeting

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If you are trying to keep both your belly slim and your wallet fat through this holiday season then there are a few things you can do to hopefully keep you on track. That first thing is to think up a budget. Look at how much money you are going to bring in this month (do not factor in any Christmas bonus you might be hoping for) and plan around that. Look at how many gifts you are planning to get, work out a cost for each and then pad your budget a bit because with the holidays comes a lot of spontaneous reasons to splurge. Take the time to think about how much you can afford to spend, maximum, on everybody on your list. Holiday spending can quickly get out of hand if you’re the generous type, and while you may feel great about all the happiness you spread you won’t be so jovial come January when you get the bill.

Be Realistically Spontaneous

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The second easy way is to just try and catch yourself when you or someone your with says something like “but it’s the holidays!” or something similar. While you don’t want to suck all of the fun out of your life, if you have a “but it’s the holidays” moment every other day or so with a small purchase it can quickly add up to over a hundred or into the hundreds. While a cookie, or extra treat of an eggnog latte might seem like an innocuous little treat for yourself it can start to add up and throw of your budget.

Figure in Charity

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If now is when you plan to do your charity donations, as many of us do this time of year, think about it at the beginning of the month when you are making that budget. Look at maybe your spending last year and think realistically about how much you should be able to give. While generosity here is never a bad idea, if it turns you into a charity case it may not be worth the loss.

While the holidays are great, for many it can be tough making sure each expense is accounted for and all the bills are still paid after yo give your friends and family all the things you wanted to get them. Little expenses add up and it is also actually one of the high periods of fraud. Make sure to keep a close look at your credit statements and stick to whatever budget you set for yourself.

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