The holidays are here. Have you started your gift buying yet? Before getting swamped by the sights and sounds of the season, it’s worth taking a moment to look at your spending this time of year. Two questions to ask yourself, how much are you willing to spend, and how will you pay for it?

Mounting credit card debt.

There’s a good reason for this. According to experts, credit cards used during the holidays can contribute to major overspending and significantly increase household debt. Credit research shows the average household already has over $15,000 in credit card debt.

If you make a minimum payment each month on that card for 30 years, you’ll pay nearly $17,000 in interest over its term (at 19% interest rate)! Without ever using the card again, you’ll be paying more than the original card balance in interest alone. OUCH!

Does that mean you shouldn’t use a credit card for holiday shopping?

Not necessarily. But, if you already have a lot of credit card debt, adding to it might just make matters worse. Or, if you just got a new card, you’ll want to be careful. So, what should you do?

First, create a budget.

Whether you plan to use a credit card or not, limit your spending to set amounts.

Retailers know they can make a lot more money from you if they can get you to buy impulsively. If you have a set amount to spend, you’ll help yourself think twice before buying on a whim.

So, once your plan is in place, follow it!

There’s nothing like the feeling of getting the perfect gift for someone you care about. You can still have that feeling and not overspend with a little extra planning.

Then, take advantage of seasonal deals.

If you can manage some of the hassles, there are a ton of great bargains out there. How good would it feel to spend some time and save extra money this season?

 See how your holiday spending stacks up with this infographic.



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