The holiday season is when America accounts for most of its retail sales. After all, it is the season of three major festivals. From Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas, the final months are the happiest times for everyone. People flock to shops, and frantic gift-buying ends up disturbing their budgets. It is also the time when people visit their families and any last-minute plans can further add to their bills. Moreover, Black Friday and Cyber Mondays bring so many irresistible deals that people end up spending more than they had accounted for.

If you happen to be in a similar situation every year, you are in the right place. Here are a few ways to avoid overspending during the holiday season.

Make a list of gifts

Before you start spending your hard-earned money on gifts, it may help to determine how much you can afford this year. Your job situation may have changed this year, or you may not want to repeat the mistakes from the previous year. Several people go out of their way as they are more concerned about what others may think or say. As they say, it is always the gesture that counts more and not the price tag of the gift. It makes more sense to remain debt-free instead of buying gifts that out of your budget. Doesn’t it? You may even make a list of gifts to arrive at your budget.

Track your spending

Making your budget is only half work done. Or, if I may say, it will help you only 20% in keeping your expenses in check. The real test is to stick to it when you go shopping. There are several budgeting apps that you may use to stay on track. You just have to feed your shopping bills in these apps and it will give you a clear picture of where you stand. If you are more of a paper and pen kind of person, you can simply take notes and review them at the end of the day to keep a tab on your expenses.

Avoid debt

The best strategy is to use your debit card or cash for your holiday season expenses. However, if you are short and intend to use your credit card, have a plan to repay your bills. The APR on credit cards is extreme, and without a plan, you may spiral down on the path of debt.

Watch out for deals

Make the best use of Black Friday to buy gifts for your loved ones. You may be surprised, but several stores offer similar or better deals after Black Friday. It will help to keep an eye on them. Besides, you can always use apps and websites that offer discounts and coupons. If you aren’t that tech-savvy, you may start talking to your friends and colleagues. You will be surprised to know how resourceful people can be. Moreover, if something can save you a few bucks, why not? Right? Smart shoppers utilize seasonal sales to buy gifts for the holidays. You may consider this option for the next year to avoid this last-minute frenzy.

Utilize your reward points

Many people take credit cards after falling for their compelling rewards program. However, most of them forget to use them. You can check if you have any points accumulated in your accounts. These miles and loyalty points may come handy in booking your tickets or give you some breather in the form of discounts. If you are not aware of these programs, you may check with your card issuer if your card has any.

Avoid self-gifting

The trend of self-gifting and pampering yourself has taken up in the last few years. People tend to pick up things for themselves when they step into a store to buy gifts. If you have a similar tendency, you can resolve this with a stronger resolve of mind. Try to distinguish between your needs and wants before buying something impulsively. If you really want to pamper yourself, you may buy something that you have been wanting to buy for a long time. But again, account for it when you are making your holiday budget. It will help to remain within your budget.