8 ways to stay debt-free during the holidays

By CreditCards.com

You've budgeted fanatically, spent judiciously, whittled down debt, and now the holidays are here. If you're holding credit cards with unused credit lines, this can be a dangerous time.

Stores are stocked with enticing items, the kids are clamoring for gifts and even your spouse is hinting at something special. A voice whispers to you, "Loosen up. It's the season for giving. The cards are right there in your wallet. Just use them!"

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Hold up, Santa. Random charging is never a good idea, but in this economy, it's particularly foolish. Here's how you can hold the reins and ring in the New Year on a financially sound note.

The calendar will soon turn to 2010, and December's bills will be in the mail. Project how you'll feel when they arrive: Will you be in a panic because the balances have ballooned, or relieved that you maintained a healthy relationship with your credit cards?

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