With the joy of the holidays comes the stress of 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. The BBB has 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 youngstown.bbb.org to check out their BBB Business Reviews before you shop.
Make your holidays merry and bright with a plan, a budget and to stick to it. Come January, you can start the New Year with a clean slate instead of a stack of bills.
For 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2011, consumers turned to BBB more than 100 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at www.bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 114 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.