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      Money Talks: Slash Your Holiday Shopping Bill By 20 Percent

      Playing Santa is expensive. But there are simple things you can do to slash both your bills and your holiday stress.

      Want to slash your gift shopping bill by 10 to 15 percent? Here's something simple: Make a budget and then stick to it. Decide the amount of money you've got among the people you've got to shop for, and make yourself a list. And by the way, cross yourself off of it.

      According to the National Retail Federation, Americans typically spend about $100 on themselves every holiday season. If you use a credit card that offers a cash-back reward, now could be a great time to cash in.

      And some cards offer double cash with select retailers|so a $20 reward could turn into a $40 gift certificate.

      Did you get gift cards last year that you haven't used up? Maybe it's time for you to turn them into a gift for somebody else. No gift cards? Buy them at a discount online.

      Buy a hundred dollar gift card for $90, and you've just saved 10 percent on everything you buy with it.

      And don't automatically assume you've got to go here to the mall or to the Internet. I've been in resale and thrift shops that had brand new, designer stuff for 90 percent off.

      And use your imagination instead of your money. What kid wouldn't like to receive a get-out-of punishment free card? From picture frames to potted plants, even if you're all thumbs, there are things you can make yourself.

      And if you really want to slash that holiday bill by 20 percent, here's your single best idea: start early.

      The more time you take to think things through, the more you're going to save.

      Want more tips to lower that holiday shopping bill? I've got them waiting for you right here at

      Just do a search for "Holiday Gifts". For Money Talks News, I'm Stacy Johnson.