The holiday season can be tough on your bank account. Personally, I save up throughout the year and stash some money aside each month for my Christmas fund so it doesn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. I also shop throughout the year if a great sale happens and I think there’s something great for someone on my list. Here are some things I’ve learned over the years that have kept me out of the red! -A.

1. Stick to a budget.

2. Do a gift exchange among friends. Secret Santa is a great way to save money and buy one instead of many gifts.

3. Take advantage of sales. I very rarely buy at full price unless it’s a must have or it’s something that won’t go on sale like a classic Chanel bag. There’s lots out there and sites are vying for your sale.

4. Don’t wait till the last minute to shop. It never really pays to shop last minute. You’re stressed and often make unwise decisions when you’re pressured.

5. Re-gift if you have gifts in good condition. Just remember to take off any stickers or tags that indicate it was gifted to you.

6. Use online coupons. Sites like Groupon are great for purchasing a day to the spa for a loved one. Online discounts are also great to add some extra money off.

7. Make something at home. A homemade gift can be an extremely thoughtful gift than simply going out to purchase a gift. Add a festive handmade tag with the gift and you’re ready to go! Pinterest is great to get some home made gift inspiration.

8. Try not to put it on credit if you can. Be mindful of interest rates that will get you long past the holiday season.

9.  Limit the amount people you’re gifting for. There’s no need to get neighbor Joe or Susie the Barista a gift just because it’s Christmas. If you’re on a budget, edit your list down.

10. Set a limit on how much to spend with family and friends. This way everyone is on the same page.