Avoid a Holiday Spending “Hangover”

November 28, 2012 - Christen
In preparation for the holiday season, it’s very easy to overspend on holiday gifts, decorations and holiday dinners. I’ve compiled a few easy-to-follow tips that may help you avoid a holiday spending hangover (that terrible feeling you get after realizing you’ve spent more than you should have during the holidays and aren’t sure when you’ll be able to pay off the debt you’ve accumulated).
Make a list, and check it twice; then budget.
Not only will a list help you remember who is on your shopping list, it will also help you with deciding upfront how much you can realistically spend on each person. When you create a holiday spending budget, you are making a promise to yourself that says “I understand how much money I can afford to spend on gifts, and I am sticking to my commitment that I won’t spend over that amount.” Sometimes the holidays can really stretch an already tight budget. Planning in advance can help alleviate the possibility of overspending.
Don’t charge it!
When you pay with cash rather than using a credit card, you immediately know how much money you have left once you’ve made a purchase. In some situations, using credit could lead to you spending more than you normally would have if you were using cash instead. After making a budget and getting the amount of cash you plan to spend, work your way through your list, and when the money is done, so is the shopping!
If you can’t buy it, you can probably make it.
“Giving from the heart” may sound cliché, but if you find that your budget won’t allow you to spend money at the mall or other stores for gifts, making gifts for your loved ones is another option. Homemade gifts are usually more thoughtful than, say, a gift card or a scarf. From homemade fruit baskets and holiday cards to picture frames, there is sure to be something for everyone on your list.
Plan to pay it back.
If you must use credit to make your holiday purchases, be sure to make a repayment plan for yourself that will allow you to pay off the charges in a timely manner. It’s not a good feeling when you look at your May credit card statement and realize that you’re still paying for a Christmas purchase from the previous year.

How are you planning to avoid overspending this holiday season?

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