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A plan to spend less and save more during the holidays


39714249 - young couple sitting at the table and calculating the family budgetThe holidays will be here before you know it. That’s why it’s a great time of the year to create a holiday spending plan.

Experts say setting a holiday budget well before the season begins is one of the most important ways to avoid overspending in November and December. Remember that not-so-good feeling when you opened your credit card bill in January? Setting a budget — and sticking with it — is a great way to avoid a holiday financial hangover. Don’t just budget for gifts. Include items such as food for holiday dinners, greeting cards, wrapping paper, decorations and any extra supplies — they all can add up. Once the holidays begin, track each holiday purchase.

If you have a family, have a meeting to find out what each family member enjoys most about the holidays. You may be surprised to discover that low-cost activities such as going to your city’s holiday festival or driving around to view holiday light displays is more important to your children than more costly activities!

Now also is the time to ask yourself questions such as “Should I purchase gifts for everyone in my extended family?” or “Do I really need to host the neighborhood holiday party this year?” If you host a family get-together, do you really need to provide every item on the menu or can you make it a potluck event? Maybe this is the year to ask your friends and family to bring a side dish with them to the meal. By making these decisions now, you can let your family and friends know well before the season begins that you want to do things differently this year.