Credit tips to make it through the holiday season

With Halloween coming to a close, the Thanksgiving and Christmas season is fast approaching. The 2012 holiday season was a record breaking year, it is safe to assume 2013 will be no different.

The National Retail Federation reported that last year's Black Friday was one of the busiest shopping days of all time. The retail organization said more than 247 million people did their shopping the day after Thanksgiving, with the average person spending $423. Paul Golden of the National Endowment for Financial Education said the holiday season is when consumers tend to get a little out of hand with their spending.

"A lot of families watch their budget very closely throughout the year and spend far beyond their expectations during the holidays," Golden said. "This short period of major spending can lead to long-term problems such as credit card debt, which can cause a burden for years to come. Don't be afraid to say 'no' to gifts you cannot afford. The greatest gift you can give yourself is financial stability."

Setting credit and spending limits for yourself will help you avoid a spending spree this season.

Limit credit card usage
Using your credit card is a great way to improve a credit score, but using it an excessive amount will only accumulate more debt. Trying looking for extra spending cash or investigate whether a gift comes with a layaway plan. But if you sign up for layaway, make sure to look at the fine print and see if there are any concealed fees.

Avoid retail credit cards
This is the prime time of year when stores will offer retail credit cards. A cashier may offer to take 10 percent off your order if you sign up for a store's credit card. It sounds like a good deal, but many times these cards will come with low limits, high interest rates and will just run you further into debt. Avoiding these cards may be your best move.

Make a fiscally responsible game plan
During this time of year, you may be feeling generous. Getting a gift for all your friends and family is a kind gesture, but your wallet would say otherwise. Try limiting your spending by only getting one gift per person. This will help you save money, and has the added bonus of cutting down on the amount of wrapping you have to do.