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How to create a budget for your holiday shopping

Money can be tight around the holiday gifting season, so here's some tips to keep you out of debt this year.

TAMPA, Fla. — During the holiday season our wallets can feel a little thin after shelling out for meals, decorations, gifts and sometimes flights to visit family. 

It can be easy to overspend, but if you're looking to create a budget and stick to it, we've got some tips for you.

Mark Williams, the CEO of Brokers International, knows money. He says around the holidays it's easy to get carried away so the first step in making sure you don't overspend is creating a budget. 

"Write down everyone you have to buy for and try to determine how much you're going to spend on them and try and stick to it which is the toughest part," said Williams.

Once you have that total number, make adjustments based on your income and what you can afford. Make sure you have enough to cover your expenses before you spend it on gifts. 

The earlier you start shopping, the easier it will be to spread out the cost of buying gifts for your family and friends. 

"Don't wait until after Thanksgiving to start buying, shop throughout the year and look for those bargains," explained Williams. 

Buying gifts earlier allows you to spread out the total cost of all the gifts over the course of a few months, rather than having to spend it all at once near the end of the year when money can be tight.

If you prefer to shop for your gifts online this year, try and shop for a few people at once. 

"If you're going to buy off a website, try and buy for a few people so you can get free shipping. Think about every time you buy off a website if you can save $7 or $8 each time, that adds up," said Williams. 

Also, if you shop online, always do a quick search for promo codes or use one of many browser extensions available like Honey or your credit card's shopping assistant to automatically search for discount options. 

Many credit cards also offer cashback rewards for certain stores, so check for those before you fill up your cart!

If you're shopping in-store, Williams recommends going old school and ditching the debit cards and credit cards to help you stay under budget. 

"Keep large denomination bills in your wallet because studies have shown we're very hesitant to break fifties and hundreds, we break twenties way more often," he said. Using cash can help you spend only what you have instead of overspending on a credit card. 

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