Editor’s note: This is a transcript of the audio file.

It’s the most expensive time of the year: The holidays are almost here.

You can cut the spending without draining the holiday spirit. I’m Janet Stauble with your Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

Do you really need to exchange gifts with every member of the family? If you’re thinking about your wallet, chances are your family is, too. Get everyone to agree in advance on how a gift exchange will go down.

Traveling to be with family? Eight weeks in advance is usually the magic number when it comes to getting the best prices on holiday airfare.

Start stocking up now on wine and liquor for get-togethers to avoid a bigger bar bill in the months ahead.

And pay down your credit cards. You don’t want to charge this Christmas without paying off last Christmas. If your plan is to split up a balance into six or eight payments, you’re already into the holidays again.

Want to learn more? Log onto Bankrate.com. I’m Janet Stauble.