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It’s easy to overspend during the holidays. You see a gift that you know a certain someone on your list would absolutely love. But, it is more than what you were planning to spend. You decide to just put it on your credit card and pay for it later. And holy cow, do you pay for it later!

A gift, paid for with a credit card often costs twice as much if it’s not paid off quickly. Is that $15 purchase worth $30 to you? Would you pay over $1,000 for something that costs $500? Interest calculations and payments can be shocking.

It will take some discipline and restraint, but you can save money if you budget, start shopping early, or make homemade gifts. Here’s an idea. Go to the mall without your credit cards. In doing so, you will learn to not be overcome with that, “oh I can make a few payments, no big deal”, familiar false of feeling that causes spontaneous and reckless purchases. By not having credit cards in hand, you will think clearly about the reality of the number of months to pay it off as well as the long struggle to do so. Here are some additional tips for better holiday shopping.

Stick To A Budget
Before you start your holiday shopping, sit down and create a budget for each person on your list. Make your budget realistic. If you know that you have $500.00 for holiday spending, only spend what you have. Is your niece expecting you to buy a house or car for her?

After you create your budget, write down some ideas for each person. Research your ideas to see if the items are within your budget before you go shopping. If the items are not in your budget, you can start thinking of alternative gifts for that person.

The key here is to stick to your budget and pay cash!

Save For The Holidays
To reduce the stress of paying for the holidays, start a holiday savings account. Every paycheck deposit money into a separate account for the holidays. Some banks or credit unions have a specific account called Christmas Clubs. These clubs are saving tools for the holidays. If you put a little money away every paycheck, the shock of the holidays is reduced! You must make the commitment to this for it to work. You should make this the first payment out of your paycheck. Another tip for saving for the holidays is shop early and don’t be afraid to use coupons.

The Homemade Touch
A personal handmade gift is always a great idea. Creating a handmade gift is a great way to show you care and save money. You can create similar gifts for various people on your list and then personalize the gift for each person. Remember whatever savings tip you decide to use, stick with it!

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