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

Keeping costs down during the rush of the holidays isn’t always easy, but the alternative is paying for the holidays well into next year. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to be sure you don’t get snowed under by debt. I’m Jessica Patel with the Bankrate.com personal finance minute.

The first step to a frugal holiday is putting together a budget. Write down everyone you plan to buy for and an amount you plan to spend on them. Add those amounts up, along with what you expect to spend on other holiday costs such as travel, parties and decorating. If that number gives you sticker shock, it’s time to trim, reducing your gift budget for people on your list or toning down your party plans. When you’re done, you’ll have a number and a plan for sticking to it.

One way to save on gifts and decorating is getting your home organized. You may unearth holiday items you didn’t know you had and avoid buying wrapping paper, decorations and gifts you don’t need.

Lastly, before stepping out of the house for last-minute shopping excursions, take a few minutes to check prices online. After all, just because a store says an item is being sold as a “doorbuster” doesn’t make it a good deal.

For more on this and other personal finance issues, visit bankrate.com. I’m Jessica Patel.