During the festive season, we tend to be a little bit merrier and more gracious. In fact, you might not notice it, but some of your usual traditions could be costing you. Here, a few holiday habits you need to keep in check:

1. Eating out at restaurants all the time
Even though having dinner at your favorite pasta place might not seem like much of an indulgence, once you compile those receipts, you’ll realize that you’ve spent about a quarter of your salary on food alone. If you want to eat out with the family and save money at the same time, make sure you stick to a budget. Avoid using credit cards because this subconsciously makes you spend way more than you planned.

Dave Ramsey, an American financial author, radio host, television personality, and motivational speaker, recommends that you adopt the "envelope system," wherein you simply allocate a certain amount of money for a specific need, such as groceries or water bills. In short, you're not allowed to use the money inside the envelope for anything else.

2. Shopping at every sale
While it’s true that a 70 percent discount is enticing, it’s important to choose which shops you go to. You don’t have to purchase an item from every boutique that screams SALE, because before you know it, you’'ll have spent all of your 13th month pay.

3. Last-minute shopping
Last-minute shopping can blow your budget. When you’re pressed for time, you tend to make decisions quickly but not wisely–and sometimes, you buy items you don’t even know who to give to. Avoid incurring more expenses by shopping early.

4. Attending every Christmas party you’re invited to
It's essential to choose the parties you plan to attend. Keep in mind that every time you go out, you spend money–whether it's for gas, potluck food, or other miscellaneous expenses.

5. Wanting to give everyone a gift
Even little trinkets can be costly if you sum them all up. Instead of buying your officemates, friends, and family gifts, why not make one on your own? Be resourceful and creative–remember, it’s the thought that counts.

PHOTO: Stocksnap

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