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Every Christmas you firmly promise yourself you won’t go cray and torpedo your holiday gift budget.

And every year you wake up on the day after Christmas with a gift buying hangover – you once again got sucked into the gift buying vortex – doubling and even tripling down on what you get your family and friends.

It’s really a well-planned and thought out trap of the perfect cocktail of spontaneity and extravagance arise – sprinkled with a bit of guilt and anxiety.

How can you stay on track this season? Is there no help for this madness?

In this article I’ll give you tips on resisting the wiles of retailers as well as how to come to terms with your own spendthrift ways so you can make smart gift choices and not sacrifice generosity.

1. Spend Less At Christmas By Covering All The Basics

When you are considering your Christmas Shopping list make sure your brainstorm outside of the list go beyond gifts.

There will be other expenses that pop up in the season like travel, greeting cards, parties, the hairstylist, tips and on and on.

And the above doesn’t even address shipping! This alone can break your budget.

Just sending a package to Denver from Detroit can cost around $14 depending on the carrier ground rate. This stuff adds up!

Be super smart and make sure you make budget estimates for the “little” things that are also part of the gift giving season.

2. Save Money By Shopping For Christmas Early

This is a weird one. According to a 2012 survey by the American Research group the earlier you start your gift search, the less you are likely to spend..

People who procrastinate in their gift buy estimated that they spent a whopping $250 more than people who shopped earlier.

Give your wallet some relief and that run on the stores sooner rather than later.

In addition, there are the infamous Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales.

3. Use Ebates

This site has saved me hundreds of dollars. It simply works as a referral site and ebates splits some of the commission with you. Every major retailer has partnerships with them. I have made it a habit to just go here first. What’s even better is ebates collects and organizes all available promo codes so you don’t have to go searching for them. I have saved a 175 bucks this year on purchases I was going to make anyways and this doesn’t include my girlfriends account.

4. Don’t Touch The Merch

It’s so easy to be seduced by all the glitz of the holiday season- the eye popping dress, a cute set of towels, a gorgeous clutch.

But avoiding unwanted splurges means no touchy no way!

If you handle and object it kindles possessive feelings – it’s rooted in the field of haptics which is the science of touch.

Researchers at UCLA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that holding even an ordinary item like a coffee mug increased people’s desire to buy it.

Not only was their desire to buy increased but they were also willing to pay as much as 10% more for it. So make “Look, but don’t touch” your mantra.

5. Stop “Christmas Gift” Momentum!

Newton stated “An object in motion tends to stay in motion”. Well the same thing applies when you are shopping for Christmas gifts.

Don’t believe me? Ever been shopping for a gift say a sweater and then accessorize with a scarf and then maybe some earrings – you know because they would all look cute together?

Yale and Stanford researchers dubbed this the “shopping momentum effect” in a study. It seems that buying one thing seems to unleash a desire to buy more.

To avoid this trap, pause after every purchase – even if you’re shopping online. Stop the rush of spending before it catches you.

6. Get Rid Of Those E-mail Alerts

Did you know that the retail industry reports that consumers who get email marketing spend an unbelievable 83% more when shopping?

Whoa, Nellie!

While it might be fun to get e-mails from your favorite stores about upcoming sales do you and your budget a huge favor unsubscribe at least until the holidays are safely behind you.

7. Let Others Buy You Christmas Gifts

Naturally when you see big sales everywhere you go you will want to pick a little something – or more – for yourself.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that 59% of Americans buy “me” gifts during the holiday shopping. Even more disturbing these same people reported that had spent $140 on average.

If you compare this $140 against the NRF stats which say the typical person budgets a total of $750 for the holidays that comes to that’s almost 20% outside the gift buying list!

Let others buy Christmas gifts for you – your wallet will thank you for it in the New Year.

8. Leverage Tech To Find Gift Deals

Want to find deals on gifts but don’t know where to look or are too lazy to do a lot of comparison shopping?

No worries!

Simply plug your search into the a website – or use the mobile app – of a comparison site like Shoptagr and you will get an e-mail or a text alert the minute the price on your chosen item drops.

This allows you to find at 20%, 30%, or even 50% off. Booya!

9. Think Outside Of The Box For Your Christmas Gifts

We have all fallen into the trap – we think that our sentiments are tied to the cost of the gift; the higher the price tag the more we express to our friends and family

Challenge yourself and your creativity!

For instance you can surprise a friend by framing her favorite Instagram photo. Borrow a snow shovel from your neighbor and then return it after shoveling their sidewalk. Or you can hand out coupons for cooking or babysitting.

The limit is your imagination.

10. Get Christmas Deals On Gift Cards

Gift cards are the fastest-growing category of holiday gifts. They may be convenient, but buying them can get expensive.

Given that the most common denomination of gift cards is $25 — the tally can add up pretty quickly.

Look for holiday season deals – many retailers offer bonus gift cards when you purchase a certain dollar amount on them.

If you are an online shopper you can check out Gift Card Granny. Gift Card Granny is a marketplace where you can buy other people’s unwanted like-new gift cards. They have cards for Kohl’s, CVS, iTunes, and thousands of other merchants at an average of 15% off.

You don’t have to spend a bundle to have a great holiday season!

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