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Stretching Your Dollar: Getting the best holidays

A bump in the road that shoppers may run into is the additional expense that people normally don't think about.

LUCAS, Ohio — Believe it or not, Christmas is just a few weeks away, and many people are not done with their shopping yet or have even started.

This year's average holiday spending is expected to be up 5% from a year ago as consumers split their shopping between online and retail store.

Big spenders who have shopped in the ballpark of $1,000 this year are probably finished by now.

As for the late bloomers, it's a little late to be thinking about a budget for Christmas, but it's not impossible.

"It's important to think about all those additional expenses that creep up this time of year it could be groceries for your holiday party, when you are hosting out of town guests, the extra babysitting services  you are paying for when going to holiday gatherings," said Andrea Woroch, consumer and family finance expert. "Maybe all those outfits you are buying for the holiday celebrations, postage for greeting cards, tipping the service people in your life. As you can  see there's lot of additional expenses that add up and bust your budget if you don't prepare."

A way to add some cushion for your spending expenses this month is by just paying the minimum on the credit cards for a month or so. 

And if that is not an option, you could always cancel those membership services you aren't really using. 

"So if you have a few video streaming services or a gym membership you are not using, now is the time to cancel those to give you a little extra money. Here and there adds up and help go towards some of those things you're buying without any debt," said Woroch.

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