Maybe you promised yourself last year that you weren’t going to overspend. Maybe you said that this year was going to be different. Christmas time is now and how are you managing your Christmas spending?
Here are 12 tips that may help you keep your wallet happier this Christmas.

1. Set a budget –
It is important to set a budget and stick to it.

2. Use your cards with rewards –
Most credit card companies offer more points at this time of year. Pay attention to which cards are offering higher percentage rates on cash back or cards that are offering more points on particular purchases. The holiday season is a great time to build up your points for the future.

3. Make a list and stick to it –
Did you ever notice how that Christmas list grows? “Well I forgot this person,” or “That person got me something,” fight the urge and stick to your list!

4. Do not chase discounts with store credit cards –
Yes, the offer of 10% off that purchase may sound enticing but how much are you really saving? Many of these store credit cards have a set-up fee that could come close to or exceed that 10% savings right off the bat. And think about it, do you really need another credit card and the temptation to charge your purchases.

5. Track your spending —
As you make your purchases, keep a list of how much you have spent. This may help you to not overspend.

6. Work the credit card system –
Make a major purchase the day after your billing cycle ends. If you use this strategic tip, you will have the whole cycle plus another 30
days until the credit card payment is due….more time to come up with the funds!

7. Budget early —
Don’t wait until December to get your budget together. Start in January, determine what your holiday budget will be, divide it by 12. This will allow you to save accordingly.

8. Know what your credit card limits are —
Credit card companies will charge an overage fee once you hit your monthly maximum. If you do not know your limit and you keep spending, those overage fees will build up over time and mean more money out of your pocket. Be smart, know your limit, and don’t pay overage fees.

9. Compare prices —
It’s a buyers-market when it comes to retail. Everyone is fighting for your dollars. Look for sales and compare prices online.

10. Search for sales —
Sales and bargains are out there. You just have to look for them. Online shopping is a great way to search out sales right from your sofa.

11. Pay with cash –
I know! Right now, you are saying, “Who carries cash anymore?” Well, you may want to when you do your shopping. Chances are that you will spend less if you are actually seeing the cash leave your wallet

12. It’s the thought that counts –
This to me is the most important. It’s not the dollar amount that makes a great gift. It’s the thought or the time that went into that gift. Sometimes spending time with the ones we care about can be the greatest gift of all.

These days, we are all busy, but I encourage you to stop and smell the poinsettias – although I don’t think they have a smell, but you know what I mean. Let this holiday season be a time to see the good in the world because that is the real meaning of the Holiday Season. And if there is anything I can do for you, call me, Dwayne Stein at my day job (504) 207-7600 or at