'Tis the season for shopping... and while buying awesome gifts for everyone you love can be really fun and exciting, the aftermath may leave your bank account in shock. Black Friday sales and special holiday pricing make it easy to get caught up in the idea that we are saving a ton of money, but it's important to check in with ourselves throughout the season to make sure we aren't spending more than we are comfortable with spending. 

Commercials and marketing make it look easy to part with our money — and look how happy it will make everyone when they receive everything on their lists! But this holiday shopping trap can quickly lead to overspending. The reality is, after all the gifts are opened and all the wrapping paper is cleaned up, if you have overspent, you are left feeling a bit like you lost control. You start to ask, "Was it worth it? Did we really need all this stuff? Will we use it?" Once you realize that the answer to many of these questions is probably, "no," all that happiness you felt when making the purchase begins to melt away and becomes a puddle of unhappiness. And no one wants to wade through a post-holiday puddle of blues. 

Before you rush into the mall with your piping hot chestnut praline latte in hand, check out these five tips to prevent overspending this season. It will be the gift you give yourself: peace of mind. 

1. Know Your Habits

Maybe you find it harder to spend cash because you can physically see it dwindling down, while swiping a credit card seems almost like imaginary money. Or perhaps you are the opposite and can't keep cash in your wallet for more than a day. If you want to keep your spending in check, use the method that is harder for you when it comes to spending. 

2. Stick to Lists

It's easier to grab random things (that you usually don't need) when you are just browsing. Make a list before you hit the store and stick to it! Promise yourself you will only get what is on that list before you ever walk through the door. This will lessen your likelihood to impulse shop. 

3. Don't Feel Guilty About Saying "No"

It's okay to politely tell a salesperson "no," when they offer you the latest deal or try to upsell your purchase. All you owe them is kindness, not buying more things you don't need or want because you feel uncomfortable turning them down. 

4. Keep Yourself Accountable

Make a list or spreadsheet to keep track of all your spending. Set a limit upfront and enter your purchases daily, to see how much you have left. This method will help you avoid going over your budgeted amount and really help you to see exactly what you are spending/buying.

5. Have an Emotional Check-In

Shopping when you are sad, hungry, lonely, or bored can lead to buyer's remorse. Check in with yourself to see if you are trying to meet an emotional need with "stuff" or if you are making a necessary purchase. If you discover you are having some strong feelings, opt for something to distract you from shopping — like watching a movie, spending time with a friend, or exercising. 

Avoiding the holiday overspending trap is simple, it just requires self-discipline and a plan. These tips will help you make it through to the new year with more than spare change in your pocket. 

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