The holiday season officially begins this week with the tradition of family dinners complete with turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. This week also begins the holiday shopping season. Stores are opening earlier than ever to try and get your dollars. Before you head out the door on Thanksgiving or in the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday, it is a good idea to sit down and create a budget and stick to it. Every year, many consumers overspend during the holidays, starting off the New Year in debt.
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.evansville.bbb.org to check out their BBB Business Reviews before you shop.
If you make a plan, you will have something else to be thankful for next year because you won’t receive a stack of bills come January.
For more information you can trust, visit our website at www.evansville.bbb.org.