It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And the most expensive. Here are some simple tips to keep your holiday spending under control.

1. Set an overall budget. If you’re married, sit down with your spouse and discuss a number that you will stick to for all holiday items and gifts.

2. Create a list of everyone you need to give gifts to, ideas of what to give them and the maximum amount you can spend.

3. Start early. Be on the lookout for gifts for family and friends all year round. Check weekly ads for sales, and keep your ears open for when a family or friend mentions, ‘they would love to have ________”. When December hits, and everyone is in a shopping frenzy, you’ll be glad you’re ahead of the game.

4. Read reviews. If you’re looking to purchase a larger item for someone, or even the smaller ones, read up on what past customers have to say.

5. When online shopping, look up promotional codes! Simply search for ‘store name promo code’ on Google. is a great site that always has coupons that are current and have worked for past customers.

6. Consider Black Friday, if you’re up for the challenge. If getting up at 3 a.m. and standing in the cold in a line of grumpy shoppers isn’t your dream come true, try Black Friday and Cyber Monday online. The deals are great, and from the comfort of your home.

7. Plan for travel expenses. If you travel to see family or friends for the holidays, plan your flights early on or budget for gas and food along the way.