The next few weeks are sure to bring out the best and worst in many people, as some struggle to afford the perfect gifts and others spend generously on their loved ones regardless of their personal financial plans. There are many tips and tricks to avoiding bad scenarios during the holiday shopping season, and making them part of regular spending and savings habits could help ensure ongoing financial fitness in the future.

One of the biggest pitfalls American shoppers face is that of credit card liability. With more consumers thinking they will spend more this season than last year, the likelihood of incurring higher amounts of debt could also be likely. Despite the fact that unemployment is dropping and more people may be earning higher, overspending could become a big problem again.

Lose the plastic
To contend with this threat, GoBankingRates recommended leaving the credit cards at home. The source reported that a Consumer Reports survey of American consumers found more than 14 million people took more than a year to pay off the previous year's holiday debt. Tthat means shoppers coudl be building new debt before the old ones have been resolved, creating a dangerous cycle.

Millionaire Corner theorized that credit cards could wind up pushing the average household debt even higher despite other indicators showing positive changes in the economy. The Corner wrote that a review by TransUnion showed that credit cards are already causing additional financial distress, with the average outstanding card balance increasing by roughly 5 percent in the third quarter of 2012. The mean balance being maintained on consumer cards was just under $5,000, according to the source.

To maintain positive financial plans and avoid an unhappy new year, it may be wise to get shopping done early, but to also leave the credit cards at home. This strategy will ensure that people spend only as much money as they actually have, rather than building on top of existing balances and debts, which could put them in a difficult position when bills start rolling in this January.