It’s easy to overspend during the season known for giving, but overspending can lead to financial and emotional stress. That’s why keeping your spending in check is the best gift you can give yourself. These smart spending strategies can help.

Create an overall holiday spending budget.

It should cover all your anticipated holiday expenses. Break it into categories, so you can see what you plan to spend for gifts (and shipping them), entertaining, decorations, travel and anything else that’s part of your tradition. 

Avoid overzealous gift -giving.

Probably the hardest budget category to keep in check is gifts. In fact, a recent T. Rowe Price Parents, Kids & Money Survey found that many of the parents surveyed (57 percent) said they spend too much on things their kids don’t need. Here are some ways to make sure overspending on gifts doesn’t mean sacrificing in other areas. 

Make a list and check it twice. List everyone you’re buying for and set a spending limit for each. Then think of gift ideas within that price range. Having a gift in mind before you leave the house or go online can help you stick to your budget. If you don’t know what you’re going to buy, you’re more likely to buy on impulse and overspend.

Let your list and budget dictate your purchases. When you see items on sale at deep discounts, it can be tempting to buy additional items. Don’t! Remember that any time you buy something, you’re spending money, not saving it.

Consider homemade gifts. It’s the thought—not how much you spend—that counts. Homemade gifts are memorable and send the message that you care. They may not work for everyone on your list, but they’re good options for some.

Draw names for a gift exchange. If you’re buying gifts for many people in a group (like extended family or work), suggest drawing names from a hat instead of giving to everyone.

Comparison shop for major purchases.

Price comparison apps make it easy to scan a product’s barcode or a QR code to find the retailer with the best price on that item. Many apps allow you to store loyalty cards and have coupon options for even more savings. Some will alert you to price cuts. 

Take advantage of credit card rewards.

You may be able to use credit card points for discounted gift cards. Or, you may have access to an exclusive online shopping portal that has built-in discounts and helps you earn more credit card points as you shop. Take advantage of these spend less/earn more perks before you head out to the mall or to individual retailers’ websites. You may be able to get the same item from the same retailer for less. 

Track your spending as you go.

Using your Navy Federal Credit Card makes it easy to see how much of your budget is already spent and what remains. Plus, next year, you’ll have a head start on setting your budget. Just review this year’s spending and adjust as necessary.

With your budget and these smart spending tips in mind, you’ll give yourself not only a more relaxing and joyous holiday season, but also a great start to the new year. Happy holidays!