The holidays are a time when it’s tempting – and easy – to toss your budget out the window and splurge on your friends and family.

After all, it’s the season of giving. And often, giving the perfect gift is just as fun as receiving a gift.

However, with proper planning, you can stay on budget while spreading Christmas joy and avoiding the stresses that come with searching for that perfect present.

There’s no magic secret to a holiday budget. You’ll have to put the pen to the paper and figure out ahead of time how much you can afford to spend. Then you have to stick to it.

In other words, make a list and check it twice.

Having a budgeted list and sticking to it will help you navigate all the expenses that come with the holidays.

Make a list of everyone you need to buy for and then a price range for each person with gift ideas. If you do this, it will come in handy later.

Let’s say you find a great deal on a gift for one person on your list and it comes in $25 under budget. That can help you later if a gift you found for another person is $20 over budget – you can still purchase that gift, because you were under budget on the first person.

One final tip is to start thinking about next year. Save your receipts. They can come in handy next Christmas when making your budget. You’ll know who all you shopped for and how much you spent on them.

Also, when planning for next year’s Christmas budget, talk to your bank and see if they have options that will help you save throughout the year. They’ll most likely be happy to set up a separate account that you can deposit money into every payday. Then you’ll automatically have your money ready to go!

Make it a challenge to see if you can come in under budget. If that happens, you can reward someone who wasn’t on your list – yourself!

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  RCB Bank, member FDIC.