November 30, 2011 12:00 ET

Six Savvy Ways to Avoid Overspending this Holiday Season

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - Nov 30, 2011) - Every holiday season, millions of Americans spend above their means. So the temporary feel-good high of giving big to the ones we love ends up hurting more than helping. "It's self-defeatist to overspend to make loved ones feel good when the result makes you feel worse in the long run," says Meredith Simonds of "I'm talking about worst-case scenarios that all-too-often come true, from debt settlement to bankruptcy."

To avoid overspending, try to:

1) Pay with cash. This means leaving credit cards and debit cards at home. Know your budget for the day's spending and take no more cash than that on your shopping trip.

2) Stick to your list. Take your time with it, carefully choosing the right item (at the right price) for everyone you want to buy for this year.

3) Shop with a friend. To be more specific, shop with a friend who has your best financial interest at heart. When you're tempted to go over budget or make an impulse buy, they can help keep you on track.

4) Don't buy something just because it's on sale. If it's not on your list, that sale item isn't saving you anything. Unless you buy the sale item to replace something else you planned to buy.

5) Look for items that cost less than the allotted amounts. For example, if you planned on spending twenty dollars on something but find it for fifteen, stop there. As long as you got the item you were looking for, don't feel you need to spend the full twenty dollars.

6) When shopping online, take advantage of promo codes. You've know the prompt at checkout asking you to enter a promo code? Rather than skipping over this option, simply do an online search for one, such as, "[name of store] promotional code."

About is a one-stop destination for consumers looking for free advice on repairing bad credit and rebuilding good credit. Founded in 1997, it advocates the self-help approach to credit and debt management. CreditInfoCenter Editor and Founder Kristy Welsh is the author of several books on personal finance, including Good Credit Is Sexy, a tongue-in-cheek guide to managing your credit.

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