When times are tough, every dollar counts. But you still want to give the gifts that inspire delight. Here's how to give generously without the post-holiday budget hangover.
Set a maximum budget and stick to it
When you look at your finances, consider how much you can realistically spend on gifts. It can be tempting to stretch your resources, but far less frustrating when you get the bill.
Use cash, not credit
Many shoppers make the mistake of using credit cards to buy holiday gifts. Not only is this more expensive in the long run, but it will tempt you to purchase more expensive gifts outside of your budget.
Save receipts and use returns liberally
Sometimes a gift misses the mark a bit and that's OK. Make sure you save receipts so you can return any less-than-perfect gifts and choose others that could possibly save you money.
Wait until after the holiday shopping season
Give cute stocking stuffers or "IOUs" for favorite gifts so you can take advantage of after-holiday deals, which abound following the holidays.