'Tis the season to get our $ in order!

It's the time of year we bask in the glow of holiday lights, feel the pace of the year slow down a little, and STRESS about SHOPPING!

Don't worry, we've got you covered. Here are five tips on how to stay in the black this holiday season.

1. Make a List

And check it twice! Stick to a list of what you have to buy, and who you have to buy it for. Decide how much you will spend beforehand, to avoid walking out of the mall with a heavy bag and a light wallet. By making a list, you have a plan and can decide how much you will spend before even stepping foot into the mall– where it is easy to buy more than you need.

2. Pick a Theme

Try deciding on a theme for everyone on your gift list. Is it the season for reading? Consider buying each person a book that reflects their interests and likes. Have caffeine-addicted friends? Try getting personalized travel mugs for each one.

Whichever theme you choose, the idea is to stick to a dollar amount for each person. This can give you an overall idea of what your gift-giving will cost, and you might be able to gift them more items that they'll actually use too.

3. Commit to a budget

There is no bending the rules here. Determine the dollar value associated with each gift on your list, and stick to it.

If you see one of the items on your list, do some research first. Can you save a few dollars by buying it on somewhere else? If you don't find it – maybe consider a different gift.

Never compromise on the budget – because once you do, it can become a very slippery slope. Skip grabbing the gift with purchase at checkout too (those impulse buys will get you every time)!

With TD My Spend you don't have to wait to get the sticker shock when your bills arrive 30 days later… Receive instant notifications the moment you pay on whether you're tracking at, above or below your typical spending for the month. This allows you to see how much you're spending and can make the decision to either go for that holiday lunch with a friend or pull back a little on your spending.

4. Resist the Urge to Splurge

It's the season of giving – not receiving. We can all get sucked into the sales frenzy that is the holidays – and spend a little too much on ourselves. And all those email reminders from our favourite stores don't make it any easier. Think of it like this: if you didn’t need it yesterday, you don't need it today. So, stick to your plan – and to your budget.

5. Don't Forget The Extras

We often forget about the things like shipping costs, home décor, hostess gifts for parties, and the holiday fundraisers at our kids' schools. When putting your budget together – remember to estimate the extras, and then save the money to cover them.

By giving these tips a try, you'll not only reduce some of the financial stress going into the holidays, but be better off financially in the New Year!