The holiday shopping season is around the corner, which means it's time to start thinking about what can you do to stay on track financially so you don't go into debt.
“There was a study recently that said 45 percent of people would rather skip the holidays altogether,” according to Kelsa Dickey, a financial coach here in the Valley. The reason, she says, is money issues.
“It is making people go into debt a lot of time, which is really sad," she said. "So, you start the new year -- the new year is right after the holidays -- and you have this hole to climb out of.”
So, what can you do to avoid potential money problems this holiday season? Dickey suggests you need to create a list and a budget.
“So, the first step is to make a list, and most people will include the people that they buy for and about how much they want to spend," she explained.
When creating that list, Dickey recommends going a step further and include any and all additional expenses that come with the holidays. Once everything is on paper, it all because crystal clear.
“Gifts for your co-workers, stocking stuffers, wrapping paper -- there's a whole bunch of expenses that go into the holidays besides just the gifts we buy for other people.”
Dickey also suggests you assign a designated amount to each gift and then add it up.
“The next step is to look at the total. And I think this is the step that most people skip, where they don't realize how $15 here and $20 there can really add up to be a big number.”
Dickey also suggests you designate specific shopping days.
“Give yourself a day where you're gonna go just shop for Christmas gifts and only buy Christmas gifts," she explained. "It makes it easy to see, 'I've spent $200 so far,' or, 'I've spent $180 so far.'”
And when it comes to shopping, cash is king. Forget your credit card, which can make your shopping get out of control. If you have a set amount of cash to spend, you're more likely to stay within your budget.
By the way, the average American will spend about $700 on holiday gifts. Just remember, only spend what you can afford and don't let emotions take control. Once you let emotions take over, you've already lost.
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