If you're trying to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your holiday shopping bucks, start by doing what Santa does. Make a list. Obviously, gifts for loved ones and friends are at the top. Remember to check it twice to include items for gift exchanges for work, school and clubs.
How much can you afford to spend? Based on that amount, decide how much you will spend per person. Jot down that number beside the person's name. Keep your credit cards at home, so you aren't tempted to buy more gifts or more expensive gifts than your budget allows. If you have set aside $15 for a gift exchange, stick to that. Resist the urge to throw a $20 item in the shopping cart and say, ?Close enough.? If you spend $5 more than you planned on each gift, you will quickly go over your budget.