Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average American spends about $930.58 on holiday shopping, and that number has been rising in recent years. If that number gives you pause, you’re not alone! Many people overspend on the holidays and look, every year, for ways to cut back.
Don’t worry, though – there are ways to keep your holiday spending in check without sacrificing the magic of the season.
Here’s our handy guide.
One sure-fire way to avoid overspending this holiday season is to stay away from the last-minute gift rush. When you plan your gifts in advance, it gives you a chance to browse stores for the best prices, shop online for deals (and access cost-saving free shipping), stay away from impulse buys, and keep your budget intact. Don’t forget to apps and browser plugins (like Honey) to save money while you shop.
During the holidays, credit card offers abound, and it’s easy to find yourself in a sticky spot. If you’re going to use a personal loan or credit card to shop for the holidays, make sure you’re also developing a plan to pay it off.
Once introductory rates end, interest can skyrocket on these cards, causing you to pay off a balance for years to come. Instead, budget debt the same way you’d budget cash – make sure you have a plan to pay it off in a set amount of time and that there are no hidden fees you don’t know about.
If you’re shopping for friends or family members, set spending caps to guide your holiday gift-giving. A good example may be $50 per gift for family members and $20 for close friends. When you all agree on a budget like this, it removes the guilt from gift-giving and keeps everyone within their spending comfort zone.
Without some planning, the holidays can quickly explode into an expensive and difficult-to-manage financial fiasco. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your spending in check. By setting realistic expectations, developing a budget you can live with, and preparing for the unexpected, you can give thoughtful gifts to the people you love, without breaking the bank.