In-the-Black tip: Shop with a purpose. Make a list of the things you're hoping to find, whether it's a new holiday party dress for you or gifts for the people you love. Next to each item or person's name, write how much you can afford to spend. You may be able to spend $200 on yourself normally, but when you have a long list of gifts to buy, you might have to spend less. Use a spreadsheet to track the purchases as you go including what you paid for each item, so you can clearly see how well you are sticking to your overall spending plan.