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Council of Better Business Bureaus ®
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Council of Better Business Bureaus
Sticking to Your Holiday Budget
November 05, 2012

With the joy of the holidays comes the stress of over spending…and over-spending. Every year, many consumers overspend during the holidays, starting off the New Year in debt. But not to worry! You can make this year debt-free by creating a holiday budget and sticking to it.

Although retailers are anticipating an increase in holiday spending over last year, that doesn’t mean you have to spend more. According to the National Retail Federation, “American shoppers will spend just under $750 on average on their holiday purchases this year, with a record percentage of shoppers buying online.”

Whether you plan to spend more or less than that average, the key is to set a budget and stick to it. BBB has again teamed up with Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions to offer financial tips to help you manage your expenses and stay clear of debt. To get started, check out our Holiday Planner Calculator, which helps you compartmentalize your holiday budget into categories like gifts, travel and food. You set the overall budget, and adjust it depending on your needs and plans for the holiday season.

Here are some other ideas from Clearpoint for sticking to a budget:

Make a list

Jot down a list of the persons to whom you wish to give a holiday gift.

Set a Limit

Look at your budget to see what amount you can afford to spend in total and then set limits for the amounts you will spend on each person.

Do your research

Many retailers are offering holiday deals, but it’s always a good idea to comparison shop. Online prices may be better, but don’t forget to factor in shipping costs.

Plan your purchases

Decide on what items you will buy online and which items you will purchase at local retailers. Go to www.bbb.org to check out their BBB Business Reviews before you shop.

Make your holidays merry and bright with a plan, a budget and the resolve to stick to it. Come January, you can start the New Year with a clean slate instead of a stack of bills.

For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org for a full list of tips in English and Spanish.