The holidays are here, which means you’re already getting holiday catalogs in the mail and seeing holiday sale commercials on TV. It’s tempting to pull out that department store credit card to make the magic happen at the holidays, but is the debt worth it?  

Reckon video producer Kavolshaia Howze talked to Callie Jowers, a certified financial planner with The Welch Group. 

Here are some tips on how to shop smarter this holiday season.  

1. Make a budget 

I know this advice gets old, but it’s some of the best financial advice out there: make a budget. Look at your finances and decide how much you can afford to spend on Christmas this year. Jowers said the amount will vary based on your budget and your financial goals.  

Remember: don’t skimp on your important financial obligations like retirement, college funds and rainy day savings accounts. 

2. Set spending limits 

Once you have your budget, you can decide how much you want to spend on each person. From there, you can plan what to buy and where to buy it.  

3. Shop the sales 

Now is the time to start planning not just what you will buy but where you will buy it. Amazon, department stores and small businesses alike often have big sales the week after Thanksgiving. It’s a good time to take advantage of those sales, especially if you’re on a tight budget this year.  

4. Start saving for 2021 

If you are satisfied with how much you spent this year, use that as a baseline for how much you need to save next year. You can take that amount and budget it throughout the year so that once Christmas comes around, the money is already there and you’re ready to start shopping.  

Consider putting this money into a savings account separate from your bank account. If you’re tempted by that extra money, make sure you can’t see it whenever you check your bank balance. 

5. Avoid the temptation to go into debt to buy gifts. 

If you’re eyeing that emergency credit card, look away. Your family and friends don’t want you to max out that credit card so you can buy them a Christmas gift, especially this year.  

A thoughtful, handmade gift may be a better option this year. If you’ve got a great cookie recipe or make a killer pepper jelly, consider making something homemade instead of hitting the mall this year.  

 For more answers for your holiday spending questions, watch the video here: