In 2013, 57% of American parents reported taking on debt in order to purchase holiday gifts for their kids. Furthermore stating that it was more important to buy loved ones gifts than to avoid debt. However here at Simple Thrifty Living we believe there is no need to start 2015 in a pile of debt. Below is a list of easy-to-follow tips so you can stay on financial track this month.

Stick to Your Budget

This may seem like a no brainer, however it can be quite easy to blow your budget during the holidays, emotions run high which makes it easier to overspend during this time of year. One big mistake people often make is they fail to include all of their holiday costs in their budget. These extras can include everything from shipping presents to home decorations. Don’t forget the cost of boarding fido if you’re traveling this year. Need help setting a holiday budget? Here is a quick and easy holiday budget guide.

Be Smart about Credit Cards

It’s easy to just whip out the plastic when paying for holiday items, buy now pay later. However using your credit cards liberally is an easy way to get stuck with a large sum of holiday debt come January. Ideally you will pay off your entire balance. However if that is not possible, treat your credit card like a short-term loan by making a plan to pay off the balance. Track your credit card purchases like you would track your check/debit withdrawals. Do you have multiple credit cards? Choose the one with the lowest interest rate so you are putting more towards the principal. Looking for a low-interest card this holiday season? Checkout our top holiday credit card picks.

Pay Cash

Don’t trust yourself with credit cards? Have had holiday debt trouble in the past? Leave your credit cards at home and plan to pay with cash. Set a limit and once your cash is gone, your shopping stops.

Budget for Yourself

It may sound quite selfish, but it happens to be very smart. For example, do you have a ton of holiday parties or perhaps a New Years Eve dinner that require you to buy a new outfit or get your hair done? By putting yourself on the list, these extras will be built into your holiday budget. It’s always smart to give yourself a little spending room this time of year.

Don’t wait until the Last Minute

We have all waited until the last-minute at some point in our lives, running out to the store only to end up paying top dollar for that last-minute gift. Whether it’s last-minute shopping or prepping to send gifts out-of-state, giving yourself ample time will save you stress and money.

Take advantage of Deal Sites

Looking to get your Mother-in-Law a facial? Check flash-sale sites such as Gilt City,Groupon, or LivingSocial. Always checkout these budget friendly sites before paying full price for a product or service.