With the joy of the holidays comes the stress of maxing out Santa’s budget.
Although retailers anticipate 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 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 realistic budget and stick to it. BBB has 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 (video.bbb.org/clearpoint-holiday-tips/clearpoint-holiday-budgeting-calculator.html), which helps you compartmentalize your holiday budget into categories such as 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 tips for sticking to a budget:
Make a list – Jot down a list of friends, family and coworkers to whom you will give a holiday gift and estimate how much you’re willing to spend on each. Also consider the cost of holiday cards and postage.
Shopping – Compare prices, especially for big-ticket items. Online prices may be better, but don’t forget to factor in shipping costs. Always check out the business first at wynco.bbb.org.
Entertaining – Think about how you plan to entertain during the season and what it will mean in terms of food and beverages. Also consider the costs for dining out and going to the movies – both popular outings over the holidays.
Decorations – Take stock of what you already own and consider any additional spending you might need to make for a tree, lights, ornaments, wrapping paper, etc.
Travel – If you’re heading out of town for the holidays, consider the cost of travel including any car maintenance or pet boarding.
Charitable Donations – The holidays are a time of giving, so budget in how much you plan to give to charities or nonprofits. You can learn more about being a wise donor at bbb.org/us/charity.
Start With Trust. For more consumer tips and information, visit wynco.bbb.org or phone 970-484-1348 or 800-564-0371.