I love the holidays! It is the one and only time of the year when friends and family consistently get together to enjoy each other’s company, feast on elaborate dinners and open gifts around a brightly coloured Christmas tree. According to Statistics Canada, gift giving is a billion-dollar industry. And who doesn’t love a gift or two from that special someone? But that means that consumers are spending a whole lot more on credit, and paying for it far into the new year. We can enjoy our holidays a lot more when we don’t have to worry about breaking the bank. Here are some money-saving tips to control our spending, keep our finances in check and save like Scrooge:\n\n Set a holiday budget. Budget an amount to spend for each gift recipient. You may wish to set a higher budget amount or include multiple families in setting the budget for children and teens, so that they receive gifts that they want or will use. Check your spending against your budget and resist the urge to spend beyond.\n Open a no-fee bank account for the holidays. Take advantage of no-fee bank accounts and open one specifically for holiday spending at the beginning of the year. Contribute a percentage of your pay toward your holiday spending account throughout the year. Continued contributions to this account will add up and ease the burden of paying for debt.\n Comparison shop and price-match. Shop early to compare prices for items in stores and online. Purchase lower-priced items online only if the shipping charges and the return policy are favourable. Many retailers offer price-matching, which allows buyers to take advantage of lower prices offered by competitors.\n Use technology to track and shop for deals. There’s a wide range of websites and free apps available to consumers to track holiday spending (Santa's Bag, The Christmas Gift List Free) and to see what deals are out there (Flipp.com, redflagdeals, smartcanucks). \n Take advantage of boxing week. Commit to exchanging gifts after Christmas with closest friends or family in order to take advantage of the boxing week sales. During Boxing week, items can be on sale at up to 90 per cent off the retail price, giving you more purchasing power to buy high-end gifts at an affordable price.\n Create homemade gifts. Homemade gifts are often cherished more than store-bought items. The time, energy, commitment and creativity invested by the gift giver creates lasting memories. My personal favourite is a coupon book that my 10-year-old daughter made for me. The book included coupons for “Free hugs”, “Free breakfast in bed” and “Free choice of movie at movie night”. For homemade gift suggestions, check out Pinterest, Country Living or Martha Stewart.\n\nUsing these techniques allows us to take control of our spending and enjoy our holiday a whole lot more when we know we’ve got money left in the bank.\nKeep the conversation going\nHow much do you plan to spend on gifts during this holiday season? Post a comment below.\nDisclaimer \nThe views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of CPA Canada.