Saturday, December 18, 2010

Controlling holiday spending

Updated: Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010, 5:35 AM CST
Published : Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010, 5:35 AM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) - With less than two weeks before Christmas - this is the time of year retailers count on shoppers to spend their money.

But how do you make sure you're not spending too much - especially when the shopping excitement begins back in November during Black Friday.

"Then the end of December you get caught up in the frenzy and you buy to much and go over," said Cass Grange, Financial Planner with Lucien, Stirling & Gray Advisory Group.

Grange winds up getting pretty busy once the holidays are over with folks trying to figure out how to pay off those holiday bills.

"Try not to charge anything you cannot pay off in the next month," said Grange. "Your relatives do not want you to go into debt over the giving."

And with the average American expected to spend any where from $650 to $1000 this holiday season on gifts - financial experts advise to have a plan.

"Keep a list, keep a total," said Grange.

And use cash over credit to stick with your budget - that means don't let the kids talk you into spending money on big ticket items like electronics. Instead look at the bigger picture.

"I don't want to say when my children when they are 18, I'm sorry we haven't spent any money for college because we bought you a lot of electronics for you when you were children," said Grange.

Or give to a charity. December is when over 50% of non-profits yearly donations come in.

"Talk as a family about the charities you would like to support and decide as a family and try to get your children involved," said Grange.

Donations to charities are tax deductible. And don't forget you can always donate your time if you're looking to cut back on spending this year.

But before you spend a dime - expects advise to have a plan that you can afford and stick to it.

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