1.    Agree with friends and family that you may all only spend a maximum on gifts for one another. Or, how about everyone’s name goes into a hat and you only need to buy a gift for that person - according to your agreed limit, of course?

2.    Only take a certain amount of cash with you when you go out. Once that it’s done, so are you.

3.    Instead of eating out the entire month, invite friends over to your house. Summer is a great time for a braai, anyways, right?

4.    Plan ahead for gifts - you will always pay more for last minute shopping.

5.    Go on holiday only if you have saved money for this purpose.  Never EVER vacation on credit. Here are some handy tips to help minimise holiday costs.

6.    Make a realistic daily holiday budget. And stick to it.

7.    Don’t be misled by seductive Christmas marketing, offering you “free gifts” or “gift vouchers” with the purchase of something you do not want or need.

8.    Be strong and use your willpower. Now is NOT the time to open a store account. Who wants to kick off 2012 with a stack of bills from a spontaneous mid-December shopping spree?

9.    ‘Tis the season to be jolly and carefree – but not when it comes to spending. Is it really necessary to run a tab at the bar? Do you honestly need another pair of shoes? Can you actually afford that luxury gift for your partner?

10.    Store Xmas sales? Be careful here – chances are you will not find the item you have been searching for, but will find something else that you never thought of and do not need. Purchasing unnecessary items on sale is a debt and spending trap!

In December, most of my bonus goes towards: