By Jim Donovan

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s as much of an American tradition as holiday shopping: post-holiday debt. But as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, trimming some costs right now can help consumers stash some cash before Black Friday.

To find extra cash in your budget between now and Black Friday, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has some simple, painless advice. First, stop paying for text messages and potential overage fees with a variety of free texting apps.

Robert Long of Kiplinger’s says, “You’ll tap into all of that through an app on your phone, as opposed to using standard messaging on your phone. Free of charge. The only thing you’ll have to put up with are some ads here and there, of course.”

Tip number two? Dig into your wallet and find and sell unwanted gift cards. Kiplinger says the average household has about $300 worth. An online gift card exchange won’t give the full value of the card, but it’s better than nothing.

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Finally, adjust your tax withholding instead of waiting for the usual fat refund in the spring.

“That’s your money. That’s money that the government, of course, is giving back to you in the spring. But why let the IRS hold onto it all year long? You could be saving or investing that money, or earning some interest along the way, or spending it on worthwhile adventures, such as holiday gifts,” Long explains.

It’s as simple as filing a new W4 form with your employer. The changes can take effect with your next paycheck and could put almost $500 in your bank account over the next two months.

For some other money saving ideas from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, visit:

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