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You might know that experts recommend you shouldn't spend more than a third of your gross income on rent or a mortgage. But do you know how much they recommend you spend during the holidays?

Financial planners recommend limiting holiday spending to 1.5 percent of gross annual income (before taxes and other deductions), according to Visa USA. For someone earning $40,000 that would be $600. However, the average American spends more like 2.2 percent of their gross income -- or $941 -- on the holidays.

Here are some tips to spend less during the holidays:

Budget. Include items such as travel, postage, gift wrapping and obligatory bottles of wine needed when attending holiday parties.

Track spending. It's easy to whip out the credit card and be surprised by a big bill.

Use cash. Debit and prepaid cards will also help you stay within your budget.

Give to yourself. You might as well get something out of all the money you're spending on others. If you'll pay off the balance in full, consider using a card that rewards you with cash back or points. If you'll be carrying a balance, choose the credit card with the lowest interest rate.

For other saving tips, visit a free Web site sponsored by Visa at


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