As we slide into the holidays (and maybe the next pants size, thanks to all of those holiday treats and parties), some of us know our spending habits aren't a good as they should be.

Maybe you've been hitting the coffee shop more than brewing your own at home. Or maybe your mornings feel too harried to even think about packing a lunch. The expenses add up each month, but you cringe at the thought of denying yourself those little pleasures and conveniences.

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But Ken Kamen, president of Mercadien Asset Management and the official investment advisor of New Jersey 101.5, has a simple suggestion for keeping your spending on budget. Set a realistic budget for those type of expenses each month and buy yourself gift cards. Think: Starbucks, iTunes, your favorite lunch spot.

"It's a way of really keeping yourself regulated, and more importantly, it's a way to start understanding what you're spending your money on," Kamen said. "You might not realize how quickly the money goes on these little things that just have money leaking out of your wallet."

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It's certainly easier to handle a gift card than to, say, review your credit card bill at the end of the month, adding up each category like an auditor. Instead, set yourself up for success each month by setting an easy boundary for yourself.

If you're thinking about reining in your spending in the New Year because you have bigger goals — such as increasing your retirement savings or investing for a child's education — Ken and his team at Mercadien Asset Management can help you make sure you're on the right path.

They start with a consultation where they learn about you, your spending and savings habits and your goals. Getting started is as easy as calling 609-689-2300.