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The 10th day of credit: The list

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Posted: 3 pm ET

In the spirit of the holiday season, Bankrate's credit card blog is giving you the gift of credit card tips! We will be posting one tip a day over the next 12 business days to make sure you and your wallet are merry and bright once your Christmas list is completed. Happy shopping!

If your credit card balance is looking frightful this holiday season, maybe it's time to be a Scrooge and slash how much you spend on each person or cut gifts for some people altogether.

Christmas list

Don't let your Christmas list get out of control. It's OK to cross names off.
Photo courtesy: armadillo444/Flikr

"Prioritize your money," says Shane Holdaway, president of Capital One Canada. "It's your mom versus your neighbor. Who do you spend more on?"

For example, instead of spending $25 on your kid's teacher, opt for a $10 gift card to Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts. Separate your list into categories by priority with the lowest priority people the most likely to be nixed.

A recent Capital One survey found that almost a third of Americans would drop their friends from their gift lists (32 percent), while just more than a quarter (26 percent) would drop their bosses. Obviously, U.S. consumers know the hand that feeds them.

If someone on your cut-list gives you a gift, don't feel obligated to give one back if it's going to break your budget. Instead, take time to write a heartfelt thank-you, expressing your gratitude and what that person means to you. Thoughtful words can mean so much more than a gift.

Another person to scratch off your list: yourself.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans said they plan to take advantage of the holiday sales to buy something for themselves, spending $129.62 on average, according to the National Retail Federation. That's definitely a gift you can skip this year if your budget is looking bloated. And you'll be giving yourself the best gift of all: no credit card debt.

Who is the first to make the cut on your holiday list this year? Who will never be cut?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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