Illustration: Marcus Butt/Getty Images

4 of 5
Rule #4: Give Yourself This Important Gift in December
[December] is the time of year to roast chestnuts over an open kiss under the mistletoe...and, if you're like many Americans, to shell out more money than you can afford on family and friends. The right amount to give is what you can spend today without compromising your own needs. The bottom line: Under no circumstances should you incur debt you can't immediately pay off in order to give a gift. That means no credit card balances rolling into January.