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The 7th day of credit: Same page

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Posted: 9 am 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!

Are you and your spouse holiday-shopping within the same parameters? If not, that could spell credit card trouble later.

In a recent survey from Capital One, 2 out of 5 people hadn't discussed a gift-giving budget with their significant other. Of those who did, 57 percent didn't expect their significant other to stay within budget, anyway.

A strict budget not only keeps your family out of unmanageable credit card debt, it also can help both of you to avoid hurt feelings over unbalanced gifts. Imagine if you unwrap socks and underwear this year, while your significant other gets an Xbox. There's a good chance you'll be holding that over your loved one's head for years to come.

The same philosophy goes for other family members. What if your sister spends a paycheck on an iPad, while you bought her a scarf and gloves set? Sure, the thought counts, but sisters will be sisters and she'll probably joke about it down the road. "Remember when I got you that iPad ..."

Setting gift-giving limits helps to alleviate this money stress. An easier way for families is to make gift-exchanging about fun rather than an amount.

My family cut down the gift-giving among adults a few years ago and replaced it with Secret Santa, which is easier on the wallet, but still within holiday tradition. Yankee swap is also another fun idea for big, competitive families.

"Within families, people can be more pragmatic," says Shane Holdaway, president of Capital One Canada, "and you can still have a good Christmas."

How does your family set limits to keep holiday spending manageable? Share your ideas!

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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