The holiday shopping season is upon us, but you don’t have to break the bank when heading to the stores. Karen Tyson, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communication for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, says you can stay on budget and while getting the most for your money.

“First, you have to figure out how much you want to spend in total, then break it down for each person, then start a list,” said Tyson. “But the key is to stick to that list.” The more you stray from the list, the more you are likely to spend.

Tyson also recommends comparison shopping. “Look to make sure that you’re paying the right price. Check the item out online, use apps on your smart phone while you’re in the store to find out exactly where you can get the item at the best price,” she said.

The worst thing you can do is impulse buy. “Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it’s the best buy and it doesn’t mean you need it,” said Tyson. “If you have a list, stick to that list and you look for value in the things that you buy, you’ll be able to stick to your budget.”

“You really have to control your impulses,” said Tyson. “If you are heading to the mall, the best thing you can do is have a plan mapped out. Know exactly what you are going for and what stores you are going to. That will help keep you from overspending.”