Newswise — Jan Brakefield, assistant professor of consumer sciences, offers a tip sheet to follow during the holiday shopping season.

*Make a spending plan and stick to it.

*Shop early, before Thanksgiving. Eliminates last minute panic buying.

*Be prepared each time you leave home to shop. Carry a list of who you are buying for and how much you can spend. Be specific. Get agreements from family members.

*Pay cash. Credit card users typically spend twice as much money as others.

*Use the "envelope method." Prepare one envelope per person, placing money in each envelope. When the envelope is empty, you are finished buying for that person.

*Shop when you have lots of energy.

*Shop with a buddy, or not "¦ a buddy may encourage you to splurge, so choose carefully.

*Ask sales staff about upcoming discounts. They will usually tell you, but won't offer the information unless you ask.

*DON'T buy anything for yourself!

*Write the size of your total consumer debt at the top of your shopping list. Reality check!

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