The truth about holiday sales
The stock market may be way down, your checking account balance may be way down, but the discounts at the mall are up—way up. We are now in the thick of the holiday season, and that means advertisements are everywhere encouraging consumers to spend, spend and spend some more.

There's no escaping it: This year, more than ever because of the economic gloom, we are being bombarded by retailers trying to lure us with rebates, free shipping and 20 percent off.

How can you keep from handing over what little cash you may have left or charging up your credit cards until the debt spirals out of control?