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Holiday gift-giving: How to avoid putting it all on your credit card

Who wants to find himself with an empty savings account, or with credit card bills to pay, in January? Here's how to plan your holiday gift-giving without sacrificing all your savings.

Before you start touring the stores, settle on a budget in your mind for your overall spending. Have you saved up all the money you need? If not, revise your gift budget downwards. No-one is asking you to put yourself in a financial jam over presents!

Next, draw up a list of the relatives and friends to whom you wish to give a gift. Now, think of what you would like to give each of them, and the price you expect to pay for your purchases. Are you going over budget? Read the following tips to help you find some money and reduce your spending!

Find some money

For your shopping, use money that you already have rather than buying on credit. This is the time to house-clean your drawers, roll up coins, use gift cards or put in a few extra hours at work in order to put your hands on a little extra money.

Gifts on the cheap

Give the most precious gift of all: your time! A gift certificate for baby-sitting will be certain to please any parent. Other services can also bring pleasure, such as home or garden maintenance.

Smart credit

If, in spite of everything, you end up using your credit card for your shopping, remember to pay your balance owing as soon as possible. If you allow interest charges to pile up, your gift will end up costing much more than you had planned.