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5 ways to cut your holiday spending

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It’s the Christmas season—my favorite time of year!

And even though Christmas is the season of giving, it can also be a time when it’s really tempting to overspend. To keep from falling into that trap, you need to have a plan. So here are few ways to keep your spending in check this Christmas.

1. Make a budget: The budget is your plan. You must decide how much you’re going to spend over the holidays and even how much you want to spend on each person. Without the budget, it’s so easy to spend $10 here and $20 there. Then, before you know it, you’ve spent $100 without even buying something for your spouse! If you need a little push making your first budget, check out EveryDollar.com, the best online budgeting tool available.

2. Use cash: When you swipe a card, you spend more because you feel it less. Think about using an envelope system for your holiday spending. Put the amount of cash you need for gifts in the envelope. When the money’s gone, your gift buying is done!

3. Go easy on the sales: I get it. I love a good sale just as much as anyone, but I don’t want you buying something at a discount just because you got a good deal on it. Use those sales to your advantage, but don’t let Christmas sales turn into a reason to justify overspending and going into debt.

4. Remember to give: Go beyond the usual giving opportunities, and get out of your comfort zone a little. Take some time this year to reach out to those in need and provide them with hope. Whether you do that with money or time is up to you. Giving is one of the most important things you can do with money.

5. Relax! Remember, it’s all just stuff! If you don’t get the television or the purse, it’s OK, life will go on. Don’t get so caught up in the holiday madness that you forget why you’re shopping and giving gifts in the first place.

I want you to have an amazing holiday season. You’ll be more equipped to do that when you’re not overspending and going into debt. So follow these tips and make this holiday season merrier than ever!

Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and presenter, helping Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She co-authored the #1 New York Times best-selling book “Smart Money Smart Kids” with her dad, Dave Ramsey. You can follow Rachel on Twitter at @RachelCruze, online at rachelcruze.com, or on Facebook.

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