If you're planning to spend Boxing Day at the mall, don't leave home without a game plan.

Experts say it's easy to get carried away in the discount frenzy and overspend, adding more to your holiday debt.

So before you head out the door, here are some money-saving tips to keep in mind:

Make a plan: Tiffany Heimpel, the founder of the She's So Savvy blog, which offers shopping and budgeting advice, says knowing exactly what you're looking for and making a list will help you from wandering into multiple stores and buying items just because they're on sale.

"So if it's a big ticket item like a television or something along those lines, obviously you know where you're going, but just try to make a plan because it's really easy to get overwhelmed," she said in an interview with CTVNews.ca. 

Get there early. "Be sure to get there as early as you can so that you can get in and out and beat the crowds, otherwise you're going to be stuck in a three-hour lineup," said Heimpel.

Set a budget. Deciding ahead of time how much you're willing to spend will help you prioritize your purchases instead of buying whatever catches your eye. It will also help prevent "a huge credit card hangover," Heimpel said.

Use cash or debit card only. You're more likely to overspend on Boxing Day if you use your credit card. Shopping with cash or your debit card will help you stick to your list and your budget, said Jeff Schwartz, the executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

Do your research ahead of time. Schwartz said you should browse the promotional flyers and store websites ahead of Boxing Day to find good deals. Heimpel also said you should make sure that the Boxing Day discounts are truly worth your money and time. Some sales may look enticing, but steeper discounts can be found during other retail holidays, such as Black Friday. 

At the end of the day, surveys suggest the average Boxing Day shopper will spend about $240, Schwartz said. But many could spend significantly more and end up paying for it well into the new year.

About 64 per cent of shoppers don't include Boxing Day in their holiday budget, Schwartz said.

Trevor Norris, a professor of philosophy of education at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., who looks at the cultural impact of consumerism, said Boxing Day should serve as a lesson for all of us. 

"(It) demonstrates that in a culture so dominated by consumerism it is becoming increasingly important to seek out alternative forms of giving and sharing," he told CTVNews.ca.

"Rather than buying things people don't need and may well just 'regift', perhaps seek out a more lasting and memorable—and original— gift."

Norris suggests that next holiday season, we should all think about homemade gifts or charity donations as welcome alternatives to Christmas and Boxing Day madness.