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Feel like you break the bank every year at Christmas? Dread those bills rolling in come January? Get a grip on your spending this year with these tips.

  1. Know Your Budget. Sit down, create a budget that will not throw you into debt for the first half of 2013. Add a little extra for unexpected expenses, then STICK TO IT!
  2. Spread the Love. I know it’s tempting to throw all your purchases on one credit card to get miles or points, but this year, try only using your card for big purchases and creative for the rest. Use gift cards or maybe even cash in a few of those credit card points to buy a few gifts, too. This is also a good time to put up purses, toys or other hot items you know longer use on Ebay. Use the cash for gifts!
  3. Take Advantage of Deals. Seriously, there is no reason to pay full price for anything this time of year. The sales abound starting on Black Friday all the way through the New Year. Are you having a family get-together the weekend after Christmas? Don’t buy those gifts until Christmas is over and save big!
  4. Stocking Stuffer Strategy. All those little trinkets you stuff in your kids’ stockings add up to big bucks. Decide on an amount you want to spend, then hit the ATM. Allow yourself to only spend cash. Leave your credit cards at home. I guarantee you won’t go over budget!
  5. Name Exchange: Are you part of a large group where everyone exchanges gifts with everyone else? It may be time to gently suggest pulling names out of a hat  and setting a spending limit. Knowing you are only spending $50 on one special person makes shopping much less chaotic and the gift will be more thoughtful, too.