Debt-Free Holidays: 10 Ways to Shop Better on Black Friday and Beyond

a lady in a santa hat smiles while holding big presents
a lady in a santa hat smiles while holding big presents

It can be enormously gratifying to watch our loved ones' faces light up when they open a holiday gift we've carefully purchased with them in mind. But it can be equally stressful trying to buy something they'll love and still keep the gift-buying budget under control. Not surprisingly, WalletPop's staff turned out to be experts in the art of buying gifts for less, and they were all too happy to share their secrets for debt-free Black Friday shopping and beyond.

Many on our staff recommend that families cut down on the gift expenses by holding a "Secret Santa" or "Kris Kringle" exchange in which people draw names out of a hat and only buy a gift for that person. Others say their families have negotiated agreements in which only the kids get gifts, or only nominal gifts (say, less than $25) are exchanged. "Many times both parties spend more than they want to simply because they both are afraid of offending the other," points out WalletPop's Tom Barlow.