Money Talks News: Holidays on a budget

Money Talks News: Holidays on a budget

Money Talks News - The holiday season is now in gear, although maybe not high gear.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average American will be spending about $935 on holiday shopping this year, up only 2 percent from last year.

Playing Santa is not cheap. But if you find yourself forever blowing that gift-giving budget, there are some common reasons why.

For example, the biggest reason people blow their holiday budget: They don't have one.

How about this year you actually sit down at your desk, you actually figure out ow much you want to spend for the holidays, and then you actually divide that amount between the people you're going to shop for.

Next way to prevent a budget blowout - Stop before you shop. Take an inventory. Do you have anything you can regift? Unused gift cards you can shop with? Credit card points you can trade in for presents? All ways to give gifts without spending money.

Then, as you shop, track your expenses in real time with a free budget app.

Another budget buster: Starting too late. Starting early means time to comparison shop, or even time to handcraft some memorable gifts.

And speaking of memorable, remember that memorable and money are not related. When it comes to gifts, the heart always trumps the wallet. Use your imagination, not your credit card.

The feeling that you get inside...the magic of Christmas. You don't have to go out and buy an expensive gift. Show you care, every day. That's all.

If you don't want to blow your holiday budget, just be like Santa: make a list, check it twice.

Now what you need is a little more information, maybe some shopping apps that will help. Go to the Money Talks News website and search for "Holiday Shopping."

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