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The holiday season is a time of fun and friendship, but for many, this special time of year comes with a big financial hangover. If you are still paying off the spending spree from last year, you are not alone – millions of Americans find themselves in the same leaky boat. Post-holiday debt is a major problem and a big source of stress this time of year.

If you want to enjoy the holiday season but avoid the holiday hangover, the tips below can help you do it.

  1. Build Pre-Holiday Offsets Into Your Budget

Take a good look at your current budget, then look for ways to offset the holiday spending you plan to do. If you cannot find any offsets in your current budget, you might want to rethink your holiday spending plans. It is nice to treat your friends and family, but your loved ones would not want you to go into debt for that holiday largesse.

  1. Reset Unrealistic Expectations – Don’t Try to Keep Up with the Jones’s

Don’t try to compete with the Jones’s. Holiday time should not be a completion on who can out due the neighbor who lives on the hill. Also, it is easy for expectations to rush ahead of reality at this time of year, so do not be afraid to pull back a bit. If the kids have visions of brand new iPhones and oversized TV screens in their heads, you might want to have a chat before you start shopping. Instead of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the holidays, focus on gifts that have meaning for the whole family. It is not always easy to reset unrealistic expectations, but it can be very important if you want to avoid long-term debt.

  1. Set an Overall Gift Budget – and Stick to It

When it comes to holiday spending, you do not want to wing it. Before you set foot in the local mall or head online, you need to know how much you plan to spend. Setting a holiday budget is an essential first step, something you should do before you start shopping. Set an overall holiday spending budget first, then divvy up the available funds among the friends and family members on your shopping list.

  1. Redeem Your Credit Card Rewards

You may have more holiday cash than you realize, so check your latest credit card statement. If you have been using cards that reward you with points and perks, you might be able to cash them in for gift cards and merchandise.

Once you know how much you have to work with, you can add those credit card rewards to your holiday spending plan – or use them to offset your reestablished budget. Either way, you can get the gifts you want without going into debt.

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