I am very lucky to have many smart friends. This time of year I feel even more lucky to know Philip Tirone, CEO of www.720.credit score.com. His experience and advice on ways of keeping good credit or improving credit is invaluable. But he also offers up shopping advice (from his sister) that I will use this year. I tend to “rationalize” my extra purchases for variety of reasons, but at the end of the day, gift giving does not have to be a guilt ridden event (when I get the credit card bill, UG!) it can be made just a bit easier and stress free. Read on . . . . . It’s that time of year when just about everyone is going to plan a trip or two to the mall, so I want to change the tone of my emails a bit and give some financial tips! Here’s an idea I got from my sister … Before heading to the mall, set a budget for each person. Then pull out some plain old white envelopes. Write the name of each person you are going to purchase a present for—one on each of the envelopes. Within each envelope, place the appropriate amount of cash you have budgeted for this person—no more and no less. Each of these envelopes represents the “wallet” you have for each person on your list. Though you might want to bring a small amount of extra cash for parking and lunch, leave all credit cards at home, including your debit cards. That part is critical, so it bears repeating: Leave all credit and debit cards at home. Take on the wallet/envelopes and cash for parking and lunch. When you purchase a present, use the money from the appropriate “wallet.” This method will create a psychological barrier to impulse shopping. If you are tempted to splurge on a gift, you will be dissuaded when you consider whose wallet you will withdraw money from in order to cover the impulse shopping. How could you short your daughter just because you found a great—but pricey—gift for your sister? If you have any other holiday shopping tips, hit “reply” or post them on my blog. Make it a great day, Philip Tirone. I also figured out that I can use the same strategy for on-line shopping this weekend. Creating my "wallets" but then using only my debit card. By using coupon codes, discounts  and free shipping my budget will go that much further. Happy Shopping Jennifer, Founder and Mom of 6